Statements of Iran’s Guardian Council’s spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei have shocked the Reformists into silence.
Kadkhoda’ei said on Sunday in an interview with an Arabic-language news Channel of Iran, Alalam, that those who are only able to work a couple of hours a day are not suitable for a high ranking executive post. He also said, it’s possible that we consider physical health as a factor in our assessment, but it hasn’t been discussed so far.
Although he didn’t mention a specific person, his words were targeting Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and this made his supporters concerned. They knew about his old age, but they were counting on his influence and political experience.
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 78, has already been a President for 8 years. But the Guardian Council may prevent him becoming a President for the 3rd time.
On registration day, Hashemi said that he would respect the Guardian Council’s decision. So if he gets disqualified, he should act accordingly even though the Reformists would lose the hope they had gained with Hashemi’s candidacy.
The Reformists’ front will scatter between Muhammad Reza Aref, Hassan Rowhani, Mohammad Shariatmadari, Masoud Pezeshkian, Mostafa Kavakebian and some other lesser known characters, of-course if they have chance to get qualified. Some reformists also will boycott the election without Hashemi in the race.
Eshaq Jahangiri didn’t register in time, so all eyes are on Aref. Maybe Hashemi’s rejection would make Aref even happier than the Principalists.
Mohammad Reza Aref 62, has been VP in the Khatami administration for 7 years. Despite the fact that he’s seen as an experienced figure, he couldn’t gain the support of some Reformist groups.
Hassan Rowhani’s situation is no better. He’s known as Hashemi’s representative, but he only has a small support from moderate Reformists and some politicians don’t even consider him as a Reformist.
Pezeshkian, a Minister in the Hashemi administration is not expected to gain a significant following.
The Reformists tough days are exasperated with unity among their opponents in the Principalists front. In the Principalists front Ali Akbar Aboutorabi announced his withdrawal. Some hours later, Bagheri Lankarani and a bit later Alireza Zakani withdrew in favor of Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.
A lot of speculations around the political spectrum hinted Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel and Ali Akbar Velayati’s might withdraw in favor of Jalili, so the so called “Resistance against Sanctions” front would test the waters in the coming election.
With Hashemi’s rejection unless they compromise on a single candidate the Reformists will face a failure. Although even a single candidate couldn’t get the majority of Reformists’s votes.
Hashemi released his third election manifesto in which he said, for political impact, every political party should be present in the election. His words are interpreted as a reaction to the possible decision of the Guardian Council.
If the Guardian Council ignore Hashemi’s old age, we should expect different scenarios and the Reformists chance of victory will increase.
*Abdullah Almasi is the Editor in Chief of Iranian Jahannews.com news website.