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 Rouhani, in an election speech in Tabriz (the largest city in the northeast), said: "On some issues, I am ready to kiss the 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...(Read Full Post)