Tag Archives: Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

Crystal Ball on Iran’s Presidential Election

By Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker

On Friday, June 14, Iranians will go to the polls to elect a new president for a four-year term. Out of a field of 686 applicants, which included 30 women, the twelve-member Guardian Council that vets all candidates cut the number down to eight men that were deemed conservative and Islamic enough to legitimately aspire to the presidency.

 

Among those excluded was Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a top advisor to outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considered his ally and protégé.  Also excluded were former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the founders of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

 

Now, who is likely to win out of the eight-member gang of unfriendly faces?

 

First, one needs to remember that Iranian elections are never elections.  Rather, they are “selections” — that is, the winner is pre-selected by the supreme leader, and the election is rigged to reflect that choice.  So, in truth, only one person votes in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s presidential elections.  That person is the faqih — the supreme leader — Sayeed Ali Khamenei.

 

Next, the figures that the Iranian press or TV service gives of voter turnout are fraudulent.  Voter turnout is likely to be worse than 2009, when it ran below 30%, despite regime claims that turnout was 65%.  Members of the Bassij — the theological militia — and of the Pasdaran — the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) — are required to cast their votes as instructed and are paid for such.  Likewise, in rural areas, votes are bought wholesale.  Nevertheless, in urban areas such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Tabriz, and Mashad, the polls will remain nearly empty all day as the Iranian populace registers its displeasure and disgust at the lack of real freedom and democracy by boycotting the “election.” The regime claims high figures for voter turnout as a way of legitimizing its rule, but the Iranian populous is not fooled by such claims. Only Western diplomats and other naïve souls are taken in by such falsified figures.

 

What is likely to happen is that no candidate will get a plurality in the first round.  With eight candidates, not only is such a landslide highly unlikely, but it would be a major hint that the election was fixed from the outset.  Round two, reserved for the top two vote-getting candidates, follows the first round by one week and will take place on June 21.

 

And now my predictions: and, more importantly, what they may actually mean.  I think that Khamenei wants Saeed Jalili, the 47-year-old nuclear negotiator, hard-liner, and career diplomat.  Jalili is a fervent supporter of Khamenei, and his election would signal that Iran is willing to stand up to Western pressure and pursue the nuclear program to its successful conclusion, come what may.  A Jalili victory says that the hard-liners are in control and that no reforms should be anticipated.  Iran under Jalili will seem like Ahmadinejad on designer steroids — a greater degree of class, but a yet higher degree of belligerence.  Jalili is Khamenei’s way of saying “full steam ahead.”

 

Some analysts think that Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf), the current mayor of Tehran and Ahmadinejad’s successor in that post, has a good chance as well because of his IRGC involvement.  I personally don’t think that he has been able to convince the regime hard-liners that he has become an irrevocable hard-liner himself.  I think that they will continue to distrust him should he win the power of the presidency.

 

If Gholam Ali Haddad Adel wins a spot in the run-off, it will mean that Khamenei is truly fearful that a revolt is at hand.  Choosing a family member (if only by marriage) is indicative of the fear of all outsiders, including even the Praetorian Guard, the Pasdaran (the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps).  Haddad-Adel is devoted to his in-law, and his elevation to the presidency would show that Khamenei doesn’t trust anyone outside his own family.  It would be a clear sign of paranoia on Khamenei’s part.

 

If the reformist Mohammad Reza Aref is selected, it will be proof that Khamenei blinked first in his eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the West.  Quite frankly, Aref does not stand a snowball’s chances in hell.

 

The other candidates are unlikely to score that well, Valayati being the only exception.  If Valayati is picked, it’s another version of the Jalili candidacy, but even more “in your face,” given Valayati’s Interpol warrant.

 

Two days and counting, and we dare not forget that that nuclear clock is ticking in the background.  Whoever is the winner of this election will become Ali Khamenei’s new puppet.  However, as Israeli commentator Amotz Asa-el points out, none of the candidates has any viable plan to rescue Iran’s failing economy, and it’s that factor that may tell the ultimate tale in the tragedy that is today’s Iran.

 

Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zucker is founder and chairman of the board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East.  He may be contacted at contact@ADME.ws.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/crystal_ball_on_irans_presidential_election.html#ixzz2VzR0tVA8
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Iranian Presidential Election Turning into a Circus

Iranian Presidential Election Turning into a Circus

By Reza Kahlili

The Iranian presidential election next month will not be free. The candidates have all been selected to run because they are loyal to the Islamic dictatorship.

Most of the candidates are criminals, including three with arrest warrants issued against them by either Interpol or Argentinian courts for the 1994 Jewish Community Center bombing in Buenos Aires: Mohsen Rezaei, the ex-chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, and two former regime officials, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Velayati.

Another candidate, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, current mayor of Tehran and former police commander, has said of the 1999 student protests:

“I was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force at the time. Photographs of me are available showing me on the back of a motorbike, with Hossein Khaleqi, beating them (the protesters) with wooden sticks. … I was among those carrying out beatings on the street level and I am proud of that. I didn’t care that I was a high-ranking commander.”

Recently an audiotape surfaced on the Internet revealing his 2003 speech to the Basij paramilitary forces bragging about his role at the Supreme National Security Council meeting to get the authorization to attack the student protesters: “I spoke very harshly. Didn’t observe proper protocol, and I told them as head of the police, I will demolish anyone who would show up tonight on the campus to protest … with my behavior I intimidated them to get the permission to enter and also to shoot (at protesters).”

Under the Islamic Republic’s constitution, the 12-member Guardian Council decides the eligibility of who can run for office, and anyone with any history of opposing the regime is barred from participation. The council is made up of six Islamic faqihs (experts in Islamic law) appointed by the supreme leader and six jurists nominated by the head of the Judiciary (who is himself appointed by the supreme leader), and then approved by the parliament.

However, what makes this presidential election interesting this year is the confrontation between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the latter’s handpicked candidate, close confidant and top adviser Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.

As I reported on April 30, Ahmadinejad was arrested after his visit to Tehran’s 26th International Book Fair. He was held for seven hours and was warned to keep his mouth shut about matters detrimental to the Islamic regime before being released, according to a source within the Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence unit.

Earlier, the regime’s media outlet Baztab reported that Ahmadinejad had warned associates that if Mashaei was rejected as a candidate, then Ahmadinejad would reveal recordings confirming that the regime defrauded the voters in the 2009 presidential election.

Our revelation of the news caused a firestorm inside the regime, which then arrested the editor of Baztab for publishing the report. They then attacked WND and me for publishing the report of the arrest and the revelation about the recording, which reportedly quotes officials telling Ahmadinejad in 2009 that they would announce his total winning tally as 24 million votes where, in fact, the actual number was much lower.

The source who provided the information about Ahmadinejad’s arrest then revealed the content of the tape (which is a bit longer than 11 minutes) as being between Ahmadinejad and Vahid Haghanian, the head of the supreme leader’s office. The two discuss the fraud in which Haghanian said election officials added millions of votes to Ahmadinejad’s tally to declare him the winner.

During that phone call, the two argued as Haghanian told Ahmadinejad what Khamenei expected of him. Haghanian told him that they had to add millions of fake votes to declare him the winner despite having all the Guards and Basij personnel voting for him.

The actual results of the election, as provided by the source were:

• Mir Hossein Mousavi won the election with over 19,250,000 votes.
• Ahmadinejad was second with a little over 13,000,000 votes.
• Mohsen Rezaei had approximately 3,700,000 votes.
• Mehdi Karoubi had approximately 3,200,000 votes.

Millions of Iranians took to the streets after the 2009 election results were reported, calling Ahmadinejad’s reported 62 percent tally of voters a fraud and demanding a free election.

Thousands were arrested, with many tortured and executed. Mousavi and Karoubi have been under house arrest ever since.

According to the source, Ahmadinejad plans to derail the elections if Mashaei’s registration for presidential candidacy is not accepted. Khamenei desperately wants this election to go without incident to show the world that the regime is united and has popular support.

It will be interesting to see if Khamenei backs down and allows Mashaei to run just to keep Ahmadinejad in check, but then picks his own candidate out of the hat, as the regime always does, and as they did with Ahmadinejad himself, to keep the clerical regime alive longer.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award-winning book  A Time to Betray (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).