Founding Father Denied Presidential Run: “Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, inside, far left,
with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as he greeted supporters in Tehran in 1979, when the
Islamic republic was born,” the NYT writes: “A founding father of the revolution and
a former president, shocked Iranians, particularly those among the 70 percent of the
population that is under 35 and grew up when he served in many leading positions.”
Photo Credit: David Burnett/Contact Press Image
The exclusion of Mr. Rafsanjani and another thorn in the conservatives’ side, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, could foreshadow even greater repercussions, analysts and commentators said. Since its founding in 1979, the Islamic republic has been characterized by opposing power centers competing constantly and often publicly, a back-and-forth that gave ordinary citizens and private business owners the ability to navigate between the groups.
Barring further surprises, the winner of the June election will now be drawn from a slate of conservative candidates in Iran’s ruling camp, a loose alliance of Shiite Muslim clerics and Revolutionary Guard commanders. That would put the last major state institution under their control — the first time since the 1979 revolution that all state institutions were under the firm control of one faction.
Analysts have long speculated — and some conservative clerics have confirmed — that the ruling faction is determined to abolish the office of president, which has served as a locus of opposition under the populist incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and before him the reformist Mohammad Khatami, who pushed for more personal freedoms. While by no means certain, it is now a greater possibility.
At the very least, the anti-climactic election campaign seems likely to further reinforce the alienation of the urban classes, which make up a large portion of the electorate and mostly gave up on politics after the suppression of the 2009 uprising following Mr. Ahmadinejad’s re-election, widely dismissed as fraudulent. A major boycott of the vote could further undercut the government’s already diminished legitimacy.That well might take place as the people of Iran have grown weary and have become frustrated by the leader's archaic policies of repression and isolation. The clerics might wield some power, for now; but it won’t and can’t last indefinitely when the will of the people are not with them.
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