Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has, in a statement released prior to the official announcement of the approved presidential candidates for Iran’s June 14 election, called on his supporters to refrain from engaging in any smear campaigns against others.
The top Iranian official, a two-time former president and the incumbent chairman of the Expediency Council, said he did not wish to distress the nation in the run-up to the election and noted, “I would like to urge friends not to allow the dust of smear [campaigns] by certain individuals, which has unfortunately turned into a nasty habit in elections, to blind them to justice and morality and lead them, too, to donning a cloak of insult and slander.”
Rafsanjani made the comments in a statement posted on his official website on Monday – a day before the Interior Ministry officially announced the list of the approved candidates – in response to speculations about the likelihood of his presence in the presidential race.
He pointed to his decades-long close relationship with the founder of the Islamic Republic, late Imam Khomeini, and highlighted Iran’s economic, cultural and social achievements under his presidency, and criticized the status quo.
“I believe that the presence of all tendencies in the election is necessary to create a political epic,” Rafsanjani said.
“What made me enter the field was concerns over the [idle] insinuation of the idea that religion is ineffective in running the affairs of the society, [as well as concerns over] a decline in production, the unemployment of the youth, an ailing economy, Iranophobia among [Iran’s] neighbors, moral and cultural contradictions, and the international sanctions, all of which have resulted in livelihood problems in the society,” the former Iranian president pointed out.
“The main rival of all candidates is the problems facing society,” he stated.
Rafsanjani said the existing problems can only be resolved through continued efforts by Iranian officials in cooperation with the public.
Later, on Tuesday night, the Interior Ministry issued a statement saying that the Guardian Council, which vets presidential hopefuls for official candidacy, had approved eight individuals who had signed up for the race.
The Council approved Member of Majlis Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel; Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili; Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei; Hassan Rohani, the director of the Strategic Research Center of the Expediency Council; former First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Aref; Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf; former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi; and former Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati.
A total of 686 individuals had registered from May 7 to 11 for the Islamic Republic’s 11th presidential election, which will be held on June 14.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.
By Press TV
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.