Candidates in Iran blame Ahmadinejad
TEHRAN — Iran's political landscape has become increasingly divided during controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's second and final term. But as a diverse array of candidates to replace him takes shape, nearly all the contenders seem united on one thing: attacking the president's legacy.
The eventual winner of the June election will wield influence over the direction of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, a topic of immense importance to the United States. In Iran, however, the biggest election issue is the sagging economy, and most among an emerging list of about 20 candidates argue that it has been harmed as much by Ahmadinejad's tenure as by international sanctions.
The growing field of hopefuls is generating fresh popular interest in an election that few believed would be competitive just a short while ago. That is in large part because candidates must be approved by Iran's Guardian Council, a powerful body of clerics and jurists, half of whom are appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran's traditional conservative factions — known as principlists for their loyalty to the founding principles of the Islamic Republic — make up the largest number of expected candidates. But instead of a field limited to conservatives, who once counted Ahmadinejad among their ranks but came to see him as a threat to their dominance, a number of candidates who many analysts believed would sit out for fear of not passing the strict vetting process have stepped forward.
Reformists, who have seen the modest social gains and improved foreign relations achieved during previous president Mohammad Khatami's eight-year reign evaporate under the current administration, are lining up against the president .
Among them is the lead nuclear negotiator under Khatami, Hassan Rowhani, who announced his candidacy on Thursday. The entrance of Rowhani, a cleric and one of the few moderate voices still prominent in Iran's ruling system, diminished the likelihood that Khatami or former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — both allies of Rowhani — will run again, as had been speculated.
Three conservative former members of Ahmadinejad's cabinet, including former foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, have announced their candidacies and also are running on anti-Ahmadinejad platforms.
Ultra-conservatives, led by Ayatollah Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who was long seen as Ahmadinejad's staunchest supporter in the clergy but is now among his most vocal critics, have not yet announced candidates but are expected to do so soon.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Antarctica yields life in extremist of conditions, so what about on another planet?
- Terror strikes Somalia hotel
- Conviction overturned in Italy murder case for Seattle woman
- Co-pilot may have hidden illness, German prosecutors say
- Airstrikes intensify in Yemen as Egypt, Saudis consider ground forces
- Copilot’s friends doubt Germanwings crash intentional
- Saudis start airstrikes against Yemen
- Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
- Proposed deal would allow Iran to run centrifuges, prohibit building bomb
- Israel to release tax funds held over Palestinian Authority’s move to join the ICC
- Russians threaten Danish warships over NATO missile defense pact