May 19, 2017
Iran elections: Rouhani declares 'I will kiss the Supreme Leader's hand a dozen times'
On Monday, May 15, the Iranian elections scene witnessed two important events: Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, (and a controversial candidate), left the elections for the benefit of a top contender, Ebrahim Raisi (the 1988 massacre judge). At the same time, the incumbent president Hassan Rohani, in an election speech in Tabriz (the largest city in the Northeast) said: "On some issues, I am ready to kiss Supreme Leader’s hand dozens of times." The meaning of the first event is clear. The Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is tilting his hand toward his preferred candidates. I predicted in an interview with French newspaper La Croix on May 5, 2017 that it would come down to just two: “Out of six candidates, four of them are extras and decor elements. Two candidates remain: Hassan Rouhani and his main competitor Ebrahim Raisi. Rouhani's case in particular is worth watching since not all signs point to his being in Khamenei's favor....(Read Full Article)