After the drama of last-minute candidacies over the weekend, Monday was marked by political skirmishes. The most prominent was the attempt by political rivals and hostile media to cut down the campaign of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.
The attacks generally used one of two lines: 1) at 78, Rafsanjani is too old to be an effective President; 2) Rafsanjani supported the forces of “sedition” after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.
Meanwhile, with the Supreme Leader’s camp still failing to put forth an alternative to Rafsanjani — possibilities like Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf were quiet on Monday — Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of the National Security Council, tried to put himself in the position of being the anointed candidate. Through both traditional and social media, Jalili tried to establish: 1) he is the best candidate for the military; 2) he is the proponent of Iran’s science and technology; 3) he has the political and diplomatic skills to lead the Islamic Republic at home and in the region; 4) he is the best defender of religion in the Republic and beyond.
Election Watch: Rafsanjani Fights Back?
Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani is addressing head on comments that he is too old to run for president. In a likely attempt to rally support against this line, Rafsanjani tweeted a statement by leading cleric Mehdi Taeb, who said Rafsanjani “could not handle the country”.
مهدی طائب (مخالف): هاشمی برای ریاست جمهوری مسن است و با توجه به وضعیت حاکم، توان اداره کشور را ندارد/ آنا
— اکبر هاشمی رفسنجانی (@hashemi1392) May 14, 2013
Jalili Plays IRGC Card
Presidential hopeful Saeed Jalili is aiming to rally support from the IRGC, the military and its allies, including war veterans. On Monday, Jalili declared he was a soldier as well as a diplomat, posting a photograph of himself as a soldier on his newly-created Twitter account. The nuclear negotiator has alsopromoted a report by Fars News — close to the Revolutionary Guards — about support among war veterans for Jalili, who lost his lower right leg during the Iran-Iraq War.
Rafsanjani Bashing Continues — With Accusations Of Western Involvement
Hardline Mashregh News has published a lengthy article that collates what it says are “counter-revolutionary” news stories — many from BBC Persian — which it frames by suggesting that Rafsanjani is a seditionist who would pursue a policy of rapprochement with the US, and that the West is using Rafsanjani to promote its own interests in Iran.
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