Ayatollah Khamenei Calls for Unity before Vote

Rick Moran
Following mass disqualifications of reformist candidates for parliament ("reformist" being a relative term) by the ultra conservative Guardian Council, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei appealed for all factions to end their squabbling in advance of the elections in March:


A hard-line watchdog body which vets hopefuls for loyalty to the Islamic system and other values said it had reinstated 300 candidates rejected in the initial filtering process, adding to 280 announced earlier this week. But the reformists said most of their main candidates remained disqualified and accused the Council of Guardians of failing to ensure a competitive race for Parliament.

The clerical body, which banned 2,000 reformist candidates in the 2004 election, is expected to announce the final list of eligible candidates in the first week of March.

Khamenei also said Sunday that god would punish Iranians if they do not support the country's disputed nuclear program, state radio reported.

"The Iranian people openly announce that they will defend their rights ... God will reprimand them if they do not do so," he said.
It is expected that President Ahmadinejad will have his political head handed to him in the aftermath of these elections. Not by reformists, but by dissatisfied conservatives led by Ayatollah Rafsanjani who are upset that Ahmadinejad's "reforms" of the ministries have resulted in mass firings of regime cronies to be replaced by slightly more honest but incompetent true believers.

There is also the matter of double digit inflation and widespread unemployment. But if the various factions really wanted to, they could make any anti-Ahmadinehad vote simply disappear in a flurry of ballot tampering and voter intimidation.

Why not? They've
done it before.

There is something pathetically naive about the reformists believing they can change anything of substance about the regime when their candidates must be vetted by a group - the Guardian Council - half of whose members are appointed by Khamenei. Besides, how "reformist" can candidates be who wouldn't be given a look unless they supported the destruction of Israel and the West?

And these are the Iranian "moderates?"

The parliamentary vote will be interesting in that it will be a test of strength for Rafsanjani whose election to the powerful Assembly of Experts last year is widely seen as a sign that he is positioning himself to take over when Khamenei - rumored to be in poor health - dies. I suppose the west could do worse than Rafsanjani although it was under his terms as president in the 1990's that the clandestine nuclear program began.

The bottom line is that parliament won't change much at all except that there will probably a lot more anti-Ahmadinejad members. While that certainly doesn't mean much as far as a change in attitude toward the United States, it will make life difficult for the Iranian President in his last year and a half in office.


Following mass disqualifications of reformist candidates for parliament ("reformist" being a relative term) by the ultra conservative Guardian Council, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei appealed for all factions to end their squabbling in advance of the elections in March:


A hard-line watchdog body which vets hopefuls for loyalty to the Islamic system and other values said it had reinstated 300 candidates rejected in the initial filtering process, adding to 280 announced earlier this week. But the reformists said most of their main candidates remained disqualified and accused the Council of Guardians of failing to ensure a competitive race for Parliament.

The clerical body, which banned 2,000 reformist candidates in the 2004 election, is expected to announce the final list of eligible candidates in the first week of March.

Khamenei also said Sunday that god would punish Iranians if they do not support the country's disputed nuclear program, state radio reported.

"The Iranian people openly announce that they will defend their rights ... God will reprimand them if they do not do so," he said.
It is expected that President Ahmadinejad will have his political head handed to him in the aftermath of these elections. Not by reformists, but by dissatisfied conservatives led by Ayatollah Rafsanjani who are upset that Ahmadinejad's "reforms" of the ministries have resulted in mass firings of regime cronies to be replaced by slightly more honest but incompetent true believers.

There is also the matter of double digit inflation and widespread unemployment. But if the various factions really wanted to, they could make any anti-Ahmadinehad vote simply disappear in a flurry of ballot tampering and voter intimidation.

Why not? They've
done it before.

There is something pathetically naive about the reformists believing they can change anything of substance about the regime when their candidates must be vetted by a group - the Guardian Council - half of whose members are appointed by Khamenei. Besides, how "reformist" can candidates be who wouldn't be given a look unless they supported the destruction of Israel and the West?

And these are the Iranian "moderates?"

The parliamentary vote will be interesting in that it will be a test of strength for Rafsanjani whose election to the powerful Assembly of Experts last year is widely seen as a sign that he is positioning himself to take over when Khamenei - rumored to be in poor health - dies. I suppose the west could do worse than Rafsanjani although it was under his terms as president in the 1990's that the clandestine nuclear program began.

The bottom line is that parliament won't change much at all except that there will probably a lot more anti-Ahmadinejad members. While that certainly doesn't mean much as far as a change in attitude toward the United States, it will make life difficult for the Iranian President in his last year and a half in office.