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The Iranian presidential elections in brief

14:14 20 June 2021 Author :  

On Saturday, June 19, 2021, the state TV of Iran announced the victory of Ibrahim Raisi in the presidential elections, and said that Raisi won the presidency with 62% of the total votes, garnering 17.8 million votes. The TV added that 28 million voters participated in the elections out of a total of 59 million registered voters.

Since Rafsanjani's split with a special party for reformists, the competition has become between two main currents in Iran, conservatives and reformists. Conservatives are usually supported by the main state institutions such as the Leadership Institution, the Regime Diagnostic Service, the Assembly of Experts, the Strike Force (the Revolutionary Guards), and most traditional religious institutions. Nevertheless, a large and popular current supports the reformists, and has supported their victory in the presidency more than once, such as Rafsanjani, Khatami and Rouhani.

The elections of 2021

As usual, the Guardian Council, which oversees the selection of candidates running for the presidential elections, has excluded all reformists from the presidential race, and approved the candidates of conservatives, hard-liners and some little-known independents (two non-prominent names).

The most important candidate for the fundamentalists is Ibrahim Raisi, who is the head of the judiciary in Iran, which is supported by the leadership establishment.

The votes of the reformists were scattered due to the candidacy of the former reformist Maher Ali Zadeh, who defected during the contest for the presidency, which Ahmadinejad won as a representative of the fundamentalist movement at the time. The reformists did not agree with Maher Zadeh in these elections.

However, the competitor who remained in contention against the conservative candidate was an independent candidate with little popular reach, Mr. Hemmati, the governor of the Central Bank. This candidate did not have the support of the leadership institution, and his slogan was that he represents voters and currents from outside the authority and does not represent a particular party or current.

The position of the Sunnis

The position of the Sunnis, as usual, as an electoral bloc, was scattered. The candidacy of , Sheikh Mawla Abdel Hamid, a single weak candidate, whom the Sunnis did not agree with and who is also criticized by the majority of Sunnis for his uniqueness in establishing the Strategic Council without agreement and consensus on the part of the Sunnis. Although he does not have the right to speak on behalf of the Sunnis, Sheikh Mawla Abdel Hamid revealed his support for the fundamentalist conservative candidate, Ibrahim Raisi, even though he used to support the reformists and standing against the conservatives over the past years. Consequently, Many Sunni elites, led by Mr. Jalal Jalali Zadeh, were forced to resign from this strategic council.

The Sunni "Dawah" and Reform Group

The Sunni reform group criticized Sheikh Mawla Abdel Hamid's position, saying that he does not represent the aspirations of the Sunnis, and demanded that the election mechanism should reflect fair representation of citizens. Accordingly, it called for voting for those who work for the dignity of citizens politically, economically and culturally, and that the global external arena should be dealt with independence and wisdom.

Who is Ibrahim Raisi?

Head of the Supreme Judicial Council, and currently elected President of the Republic of Iran.

Ibrahim Raisi al-Sadati, better known as Ibrahim Raisi (December 14, 1960 AD, in Mashhad). He is an Iranian cleric and politician. The Iranian president elected in June 19, 2021 AD, succeeding Hassan Rouhani, is the first deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, and the current head of the judiciary in Iran. The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed him to this position on March 7, 2019.

Since the Iranian revolution, Raisi has held important positions in his country’s judicial corps. In 1985, he took up the position of Deputy Public Prosecutor in Tehran, and in 1989 AD, he assumed the position of Public Prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran and head of the General Follow-up and Inspection Institution. Then he was elected to the Assembly of Experts as a representative of the Razavi Khorasan Province. He also held the position of Deputy Head of the Judiciary, from 2004 to 2014. In 2016, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed him to head the Astan Quds Razavi Organization, and he assumed the position of the country's attorney general.

Is there a difference between the reformist current and the hardline conservatives?

The most important projects and strategic plans in Iran were carried out under the auspices and during the era of reformists. The most lethal missile system and the nuclear project were founded by Rafsanjani, developed by Khatami, and Rouhani legitimized the nuclear industry with a treaty concluded with the United States and the Security Council.

Political and military expansion in the region

During the era of Presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami, and the first term of Hassan Rouhani, Iran continued its foreign policies towards the allied or affiliated powers in Bahrain, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territories, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, and there was no Iranian change towards these forces.

Economic solution and international cooperation

Reformists and moderates alike accuse the conservatives of demagoguery, since their vision to solve Iran's economic crisis lies only in integration into the international system, and they have tried to perpetuate this vision over the past eight years of Rouhani's presidency. From their point of view, it led to turning the national economy and production into a hostage and dependent on foreign policy in a way that led to linking it to solving diplomatic problems, which negatively affected the poor classes of society.

Hence, it becomes clear that there is no difference between the hard-liners and the reformers of Iran's leaders except in the method of implementation. They are all implementing one continuous strategy from the beginning of the Khomeinist revolution in 1979 until now. This strategy has its fixed axes, and this stability in the strategic axes and the continuation of its implementation is logically in line with Iran's achievements in all its strategic files. If every president reverses what was started by those before him, they would not have achieved what have done now, especially since the presidents who have settled in the presidency since the revolution until now are Ali Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khatami, Ahmadinejad, and then Rouhani. They are five; three of them are reformers. In addition to the fact that the president serves as the chief executive only, while the Supreme Leader of the state is the one who makes the strategies of security, defense, media and foreign policy.

Perhaps the most prominent thing that summarizes the difference between the reformists and the hard-liners of Iran’s politicians is the description of Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri, advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the state’s guide, for each of the two groups (reformists or hardliners). He says; “Both lines believe in the Islamic revolution, and believe in the principles of the Imam. Khomeini, and believes in the principles of the constitution, and believes in the most important article in this constitution, which is the necessity of the leader to be a jurist, which is what is expressed in the guardianship of the jurist, and they both believe in these principles, and they differ in the methods and mechanisms of development.”

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