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memri
June 16, 2005 No.
226

The Upcoming Presidential Elections in Iran (Part II)

By: A. Savyon*

As the June 17, 2005 presidential elections in Iran draw near, Iran's revolutionary regime grapples with a number of problems. There is mounting public apathy as well as calls to boycott the elections – whether due to the regime's corruption and tyranny, or due to the reformists' failure to make good on their promises under outgoing President Mohammad Khatami. There are also a large number of candidates – eight in total – most of whom intone empty slogans and lack any clearly defined, effective political or economic platforms.

The anticipated low voter turnout will presumably entail a second round of elections. It should be noted that Iran does not have a tradition of well-established political parties, and that the country's political system has been characterized primarily by elections that focus on personalities. The following is an analysis of the upcoming presidential elections in Iran:

Only Guardian Council-Approved Candidates May Run

Presidential contenders were required to register as candidates between May 10 and May 14, 2005. The Guardian Council, which has the authority to disqualify candidates it does not consider to meet the criteria required by the constitution,[1]reviewed over 1,000 candidates and on May 23, it released its list of six approved candidates – all but one of them conservative. Later, another two reformists were added.

On the list were: former Iranian President and current Expediency Council Chairman 'Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani; former Islamic Republic Broadcasting Authority chairman 'Ali Larijani; former police chief Mohammed Baqr Qalibaf; former Revolutionary Guards commander and current Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai; Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad; and former Majlis(parliament) speaker Mehdi Karrubi, the only reformist.

As in the past, the Guardian Council gave no explanation for its disqualification of most of the reformist candidates. The most prominent of these candidates was Mustafa Mo'in, the former Higher Education minister in the Khatami government, who had been ousted by the conservative Seventh Majlis. Mo'in's disqualification was protested by reformist and conservative political circles alike. Prominent reformist groups announced that they would boycott the elections,[2]and violent riots by Tehran University students broke out.[3]

In light of these developments, Iranian Leader 'Ali Khamenei immediately ordered the Guardian Council to reconsider the disqualification of Mo'in and of another reformist candidate, Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh.[4]The Guardian Council then announced that these two reformists were on the approved list, in accordance with Khamenei's order. Mo'in announced that he would reconsider his candidacy in light of the Guardian Council's actions, but ultimately declared his candidacy, and harshly criticized the Guardian Council, calling its conduct "anti-constitutional."[5]

The Guardian Council's Disqualification of Female Candidates

All 89 women who presented their candidacy for presidency were disqualified by the Guardian Council. Reformist candidates Mo'in and Karrubi later declared that the decision to deprive women of the right to be elected president was a mistaken one. A group of women from the Women Activists Movement demonstrated in front of the presidential building, claiming that the disqualification constituted "discrimination against women." One of the demonstrators said: "[One] cannot expect women, who constitute half the country's population, to participate extensively in the elections if they cannot enjoy their natural right to be elected." The women said that they would continue to protest as long as the Guardian Council did not offer a transparent, scientific interpretation of the constitution.[6]However, the protests were to no avail.

Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei:
Voting is a Religious Duty

In light of the anticipated low voter turnout, Iran's leaders called upon the public to vote in the elections. Whereas in previous speeches Iranian Supreme Leader 'Ali Khamenei declared that participating in the elections was a "national duty," in his speech at Kerman before thousands of students and lecturers on June 1, 2005, he elevated it to a "religious duty":[7]"Participation in the elections is not merely a right but a religious duty, and if the enemy fails in its efforts to encourage the [Iranian] nation to boycott the elections, as happened in the elections to the Seventh Majlis, it will accuse us [the Iranian regime] of various types of violations – whether in how the elections were conducted, or in [the nature of] our regime... The enemy opposes widespread, enthusiastic voting by the masses at the polling booths, but the [Iranian] nation is capable of holding authentic elections and of electing the best. Allah willing, the elections on June 17 will be our best elections yet."

Internal Disputes are the Product of the Enemy's Machinations

In referring to the disputes characterizing Iran's two main factions – the conservatives and the reformists – Iranian Leader Khamenei said that Iran's enemies were behind efforts to depict the Iranian regime as divided and conflicted: "Such disputes are [justified] as long as they are authentic, but the enemy is pursuing more [important] goals and is taking advantage of the disputes [in order to present them] as exaggerated political disputes. The enemy wishes to spread the idea that the [Iranian] regime faces internal contradictions by encouraging internal disputes... The enemy's plan is based upon creating rifts in the regime's leadership, and, of course, some of people in the [Iranian] nation have gone in this direction..."

Khamenei rejected claims by some reformist activists that the Islamic regime was tyrannical and "politically immature:" "In order to curry favor with the West, some claim that the Iranian regime has stopped midway in its development towards democracy. Let's not try to curry favor with the West through such accusations."[8]

The Correct Approach is Reformist Conservatism

According to Khamenei, the allegation that the Iranian regime is monopolizing political power and concentrating it in the hands of one party – the conservatives – is a conspiracy aimed at tarnishing the regime's reputation: "This is a lie, because we believe that the existence of two factions faithful to the constitution serves the regime... [The two factions – the conservatives and reformists] – function as [a bird's] two wings, enabling it to fly... in a competitive and progressive atmosphere... We will not permit those who are unfaithful to the constitution and to the regime to lead... The middle road, and the correct approach, is reformist conservatism."[9]

The Candidates

Of the eight presidential candidates, four are identified with the conservatives. Larijani (48), Qalibaf (44), Rezai (51), and Ahmadi-Nejad (49) are of the generation that followed the founding era of the revolution. Larijani served as chairman of the Islamic Republic Broadcasting Authority, a conservative institution, and is Khamenei's representative on the Supreme National Security Council. Qalibaf was until recently Iran's police chief. Rezai was until recently commander of the Revolutionary Guards. Currently he is serving as Expediency Council Secretary. Ahmadi-Nejad, Tehran's mayor, expresses more extreme conservative views than the others.

Rafsanjani (70), one of the founders of the revolution and a former president, is widely considered to be above the factional disputes between conservatives and reformists. Although considered a moderate reformist in Iran, he garners the support of many conservatives. Rafsanjani is currently chairman of the Expediency Council.

The three reformist candidates are: Karrubi (68), a cleric, albeit not a senior one, who was speaker of the Sixth Majlis and is currently Khamenei's representative on the Expediency Council; Mustafa Mo'in, who served as Higher Education minister in Khatami's government and was ousted a year ago by the Seventh Majlis; and Vice President Mehralizadeh, who has declared that he is an independent candidate with reformist views.

Polls

Until recently, Rafsanjani and Qalibaf have led in the public opinion polls, and they seem to have the greatest chances of being included in a second round of elections. According to a recent poll by the Iranian Students Opinion Poll Center among 4,738 people throughout Iran, expected voter turnout is 45.5%- 51.4%; Rafsanjani leads with 19.1%-27.8% of the vote, followed by Qalibaf with 9.5%-14%, Mo'in with 6.7%-10.2%, Larijani with 4.5%-6.6%, Ahmadi-Nejad with 2.8%-3.7%, Rezai with 1.4%-5.2%, and Mehralizadeh with 1.5-2.6%.[10]

Nevertheless, it appears that Mo'in has recently narrowed the gap with Rafsanjani. A poll by the official Iranian News Agency (IRNA) among 45,834 voters throughout Iran asked "Whom will you vote for?"; 27.1% of respondents said Rafsanjani, 18.9% said Mo'in, and 16.5% said Qalibaf.[11]

In an opinion-poll election conducted among 1,000 students by Tehran University's Basij organization, which is loyal to the conservative forces, conservative Tehran Mayor Ahmadi-Nejad received 20.2% of the vote; Mo'in received 18.9%; and Qalibaf received 11.6%. Only 10.3% of the respondents said they would vote for Rafsanjani, and 4.4% were for conservative candidate Larijani. It should be noted that approximately 22% of students boycotted the opinion-poll election, and 7.2% cast blank ballots.[12]

The Conservatives Promise: Continuation of the Status Quo

Despite all their efforts, the conservative candidates have been unable to agree upon one conservative presidential candidate. Conservative circles are concerned that, in the absence of a consensus, the conservative vote will be divided, and no candidate will win the necessary majority.[13]

None of the conservative candidates have set out their platforms in detail beyond the slogans and general statements about the need for change and improvement. Most of the candidates talk of the need for democracy and reforms, for fighting corruption and unemployment, and for promoting meritocracy. However, apart from diagnosing problems, they are offering neither detailed plans nor concrete solutions.[14]

For example, former Broadcasting Authority chairman 'Ali Larijani has proposed fighting corruption by banning "[independent] economic activity" by senior regime officials and by exposing violators via the government media. He stated: "I will also fight whoever embezzles public funds [and thus abuses their] political power… The future government must focus on jobs for young people... Unemployment is the cause of drug addiction and of young people's inability to marry... I am sure that if we supply decent opportunities for young people, we will make progress, and many of the people's problems will be resolved."[15]

Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad also said that solving the unemployment, housing, and marriage problems affecting Iran's young people was a top priority for him, and that he "would implement development projects based on justice and on the people's will."[16]

Former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai said: "Discrimination, drug smuggling, or addiction should not exist in Iran, and love, peace, and decency must be restored." He added that he would deal with "improving living conditions, reducing adversity, solving the problem of unemployment, and eradicating corruption."[17]

The most prominent conservative candidate is Qalibaf, who describes himself as a reformist conservative not affiliated with any party. He has stated that he considers Rafsanjani to be his only rival. Qalibaf has stressed that certain restrictions on satellite TV dishes and the Internet are essential: "We accept the idea of filtering. We must immunize the people [against social ills]. That is why it is essential to have restrictions [on the media channels]."[18]He also pledged to take action against bureaucratic and political corruption and against smuggling, the scope of which he estimated at $6 billion annually: "The entire system is problematic. When the economy is a monopoly... the end result is the cultivation of thieves."[19]

Foreign Policy: Iran Vis-à-vis the U.S., Russia, and Turkey

Overall, the conservative presidential candidates support Iran's current hostile policy towards the U.S. They also support continuing the talks on Iran's nuclear issue with Europe, along with a no-concessions policy regarding national interests – namely, the continuation of Iran's nuclear program and uranium enrichment – as well as dialogue and détente with its Gulf neighbors and the rest of the world. All the candidates are against talks with Israel because they do not consider it to be a legitimate political entity.

Larijani expressed an interesting opinion regarding the U.S.: " Iran should do something and force Americans to change their viewpoint. We can change conditions only when we raise our potential and technological standards. We are now in a highly visible geopolitical position. If we change our position into geo-strategic rather than geopolitical, America will have to treat Iran differently. They will have no other option but to accept the reality. In that case, they would not threaten [us]. So the most important issue is our economic and technological power… [Then] Iran itself will dictate the conditions of the region."[20]

One of Larijani's rivals, Mohsen Rezai, also referred to Iran's geo-political status: "We must take this opportunity to transform Iran into the No. 1 power in the region…"[21]

The Reformist Camp: Debate over Boycotting or Participating in the Elections

The reformist camp is split on whether or not to support a boycott of the elections. Some want to boycott in protest against the repressive measures that conservatives have taken against reformists in recent years, realizing that they are helpless to make significant gains in a political system controlled by the conservatives. Others are taking a more moderate stance: voting in the elections in an attempt to influence the political system from within.

The most prominent voice calling for boycotting the elections is that of imprisoned journalist Ahmad Ganji, who has became a symbol of Iranian human rights violations. Ganji is sentenced to six years' solitary confinement for articles he wrote hinting at senior Iranian regime officials' involvement in the 1998 assassination of Iranian intellectuals. Prior to the elections, Ganji published a manifesto in which he called for an elections boycott as a means of pressuring Iran's repressive regime and as the only effective way to bring about regime change. In his manifesto, Ganji, who rejects violent resistance against the regime, said that there is no point in voting because participation in the elections perpetuates the tyranny of the regime, and only a boycott will negate the legitimacy of the regime: " I say explicitly that we are facing a dictator. He has ruled for 15 years and he wants to rule for life. I oppose this and say that this is not consistent with democracy. I say that if we are supposed to have free elections, it must be against Mr. Khamenei. He should take part in a free election, not as the leader [of the Islamic revolution]. If people vote for him, he may rule; if not, he must go. I know that saying this in my country means playing with death… But I have chosen to do so consciously. Please do not censor my words. I will bear the consequences." [22]

Mo'in vs. Guardian Council: Bearing the Banner of Reforms

After his candidacy was approved on orders from Iranian Leader Khamenei, it appears that Mo'in has chosen to differentiate himself from the other candidates, including the reformists, by stressing that he will approach the Iranian people as the only true reformist alternative. He is emphasizing political reforms and the need to safeguard human rights in Iran. He has declared his intention to act with determination against the conservative regime institutions that in recent years have been using repressive measures against reformists and journalists.

Mo'in accused the Guardian Council of employing "a policy of contempt for and humiliation of the citizens by enforcing oversight that violates the constitution and the sovereign rights of the nation." He even went so far as to claim that the Guardian Council's custom of disqualifying reformist candidates aimed at "eliminating and reducing Iran's intellectual elite." Mo'in declared that despite the broad public consensus that reforms in Iran were dead, he would undertake "measures against the wholesale closure of newspapers in Iran, against the continued jailing of political activists, and against the jailing of bloggers and journalists."[23]

Following the disappointment caused by outgoing President Khatami's performance on human rights issues in Iran, and in light of the calls to boycott the elections, Mo'in recently promised to appoint a vice president for human rights. He said that he would never give up on the rights of the people: "I will aspire to [implement] the values of ethics, science, and democracy… so that the reform process will continue." He stressed that he intended to implement "equal rights for all Iranians… as far as I am concerned, power is only a means, not an end."[24]

Mo'in stated that his future government would address the three main oppressed groups in Iran – intellectuals, ethnic and religious groups, and women – and said that he would put together a team whose task would be to restore rights to religious and ethnic groups. He also said that he would appoint women to key positions in his administration.[25]At the same time Mo'in was cautious on the subject of the Islamic dress code for women: "The Iranians do not object to the hijab, but they are for freedom of choice – that is, they want the regime's involvement in their private lives to be as limited as possible."[26]

Former female reformist MP Elaheh Kulaei, a member of Mo'in's election headquarters, said that Mo'in would give a general pardon to political prisoners such as journalist Akbar Ganji, student activist Ahmad Batebi, and attorney Nasser Zarafshan who represented the families of the intellectuals murdered in 1998.[27]

It appears that a coalition of more moderate reformist forces is coalescing around Mo'in; this coalition seeks to rebuild reformist strengths and re-harness them to the struggle. As his running mate, Mo'in chose Mohammad Reza Khatami, brother of the outgoing president and considered a more radical reformist. He is head of the Iran Islamic Participation Front, which is Iran's largest reformist organization.

Some reformists who support voting in the elections recently announced the formation of the Democracy and Human Rights Front; these reformists are affiliated with the Freedom Movement of Iran and the National-Religious Council of Political Activists.[28]

Several prominent intellectuals who are members of national-religious groups and the Freedom Movement of Iran published a communiqué supporting Mo'in's candidacy; among these were Ebrahim Yazdi, the secretary-general of the Freedom of Iran Movement which was banned by the regime, and former politician and former editor of the banned Iran-e Farda daily Ezatollah Sahabi. The communiqué read: "Victory for Mo'in… will definitely dislodge the plans of the monopolistic [conservative] circles and will prevent the radical rightists from gaining control of [all] three branches of the government… Enhanced public participation in the election will benefit the reformist groups and will prevent a reoccurrence of what happened in the last municipal elections, in which people were elected based on only 5.1% of the votes."

In a conversation with journalists, Sahabi said "Experience shows that whenever the public has voted in large numbers, the results are favorable to the reform movement. If the people decide not to vote in this presidential race, [it means that] we have agreed to let the rightists [conservatives] control all branches of the government. By supporting Mo'in, we intend to prevent this."[29]

Mo'in called on the reformist camp in Iran to vote, not boycott, and to repeat the high voter turnout of the previous elections that made Khatami president. He stated that broad participation in the elections would enable Iran to stand firmly against the U.S.: "The 1997 victory forced the American administration to change [its] policy [and to express] regret [for U.S. involvement] in the [1953] revolution against the national and popular government of Dr. Mossadeq, and for the U.S.'s eight years of support for Saddam" in the Iran-Iraq War." Mo'in stated: "Iran will be able to be reborn and to become stronger from the voting booth [outcomes], as it is forcing the American president to back down from the anti-Iranian label of 'axis of evil.'"[30]

At a recent press conference, Mo'in's running mate Mohammed Reza Khatami expressed a moderate, cautious position vis-à-vis the U.S.: "There is a possibility of solving the [problems] in Iran-U.S. relations, although these [problems] are huge… The first step… is stopping the hostility, and the next step is to take the opportunity to move on from the current phase of criticism." According to Khatami, he and Mo'in are thinking about settling the disputes by peaceful means, while preserving the basic principles [of the Islamic Revolution].[31]

Karrubi's Platform

Reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi served as speaker of the reformist Sixth Majlis, and was known for his role as defender of the students and as a fighter in the struggle of the reformists. A junior cleric, Karrubi has held top positions in the regime's institutions since the beginning of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In his platform, Karrubi focuses on economic aspects, and on the pressing need to deal with the problems of Iran's youth. He proposed a grant of 500,000 riyals for every Iranian citizen above age 18. He defended this proposal, called by his detractors "election bribery," by saying: "I am a pragmatic reformist who is always faithful to my [pledges]… I believe that this can be done using oil revenues."[32]

In a move to establish his status amongst reformists, Karrubi attacked Hashemi Rafsanjani in a harsh letter, in which he hinted at poor performance on Rafsanjani's part during the latter's presidency – particularly with regard to financial corruption and persecution of intellectuals.[33]

Rafsanjani: Pragmatism and Revival of the Revolutionary Message

According to public opinion polls, Hashemi Rafsanjani is the leading candidate, even though he does not have the 50% that is required to avoid a second round of voting. Rafsanjani, who is officially seeking to retain his No. 2 position in the Iranian leadership, recently declared his decision to join the race. One of the founders of the Iranian Revolution and a close associate of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomenei, Rafsanjani is known as a pragmatist. In the past he has expressed moderate views, alongside extremist statements regarding the U.S., the Muslim nuclear aspirations, and other issues.

Rafsanjani owns a great deal of property and has powerful economic influence in Iran. He is connected to the Bazari merchants, and in his platform stresses encouraging foreign capital investment and developing the private sector. He claimed that his decision to run stems from the need to place Iran's problems in the hands of "experienced" individuals with "a sense of vision for the future" such as himself.[34]He added that one of his motives in running was "to solve [Iran's] nuclear problem."[35]

In a televised election interview, Rafsanjani said: "In order to address the legitimate problems of the new generation, we must use new approaches. Although the programs of the revolution have never become archaic because they stem from ideological considerations, we must plan new approaches… and a new way of interaction with the world in order to progress…

"There are narrow-minded people who are preventing the advance and progress of the country… This harms the Islamic regime… Globalization is not [Just] a slogan… The world is coming together, and humankind has a common destiny… We must think globally yet at the same time remain connected to the values of our revolution… Reactionary or dogmatic ideas are poison."[36]

Rafsanjani and the U.S.

Although the rest of the conservative candidates hold the official line that the U.S. must take the first step in changing its policy towards Iran in order to change the U.S.-Iran status quo, Rafsanjani recently expressed a new, more moderate stance.

According to him, the U.S. has already taken the first step towards Iran in two issues: One, it removed its veto of Iran's candidacy for the World Trade Organization; two, President Bush recently made a statement that was understood by Iran as U.S. consent to Iranian uranium enrichment up to a certain level. These measures, he thinks, make it possible for Iran to enter into talks with the U.S.:

" We cannot ignore the U.S. as a reality. The reality is that the U.S. is a superpower… The president should be prudent enough to act and behave in such a way as to stop any [U.S.] ambitions [at Iran's expense]. We must make the U.S. understand that its ambition in the Middle East will not guarantee its interests. We must make the U.S. understand that it can meet its goals better through logic and by observing international rights… The U.S. has several interests, and so do we. Sometimes we share some interests that should be well-defined and interpreted… I used to say that if the U.S. wants cooperation with Iran, it must show good will, and prove it… Now too, it must take the first step…

"The U.S. stances contain both positive and negative points… The positive points have been rare…

"One of the positive points in the U.S.'s Iran policy is its lifting of the veto on our entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. has thus far taken the initiative. But from now on we will have the opportunity to take the initiative. We should enter into talks with the U.S., to get to know how much it will be in our interests to get involved in the talks. We should know, however, when to enter the talks; we should know what to do with our industry. This is a good opportunity and I think is a good sign.

"A second positive point with the U.S.'s Iran diplomacy is the recent statement by Mr. Bush. He has said we [the U.S.] also believe Iranians can somehow do the enrichment. This is exactly the core of our problem and is something fully clear…

"To make the U.S. prove its goodwill, I believe we should enter talks. … We do not have any problems with the American people. We have problem with certain elements in the U.S. government and the extremists."

With regard to the nuclear issue, Rafsanjani said: "I believe we should try to allay the concerns of Europe and even the U.S. in this respect." At the same time, he objected to any Iranian concessions on its national interests on the Iranian nuclear issue: "Any compromise on the nuclear issue will mean offering a piece of Iranian soil to foreigners. How can we compromise on the general right of nations to attain nuclear technology?"[37]

* Ayelet Savyon is Director of MEMRI's Iranian Media Project.


[1]Article 115 of the Iranian Constitution states that the president must be a religious or political figure of Iranian origin, must be of Iranian nationality, must have administrative abilities, must be reliable, and must truly believe in the principles of the Islamic Republic.

[2]Majlis Speaker Haddad Adel, a conservative, told Iran's President Ali Khamenei that the ruling was inappropriate. Reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi also declared that the disqualification was unjustified. Reformist groups, like the Islamic Republic Mojahideen Organization, declared that they would refrain from participating in the elections.

[3]IRNA (Iran), May 24, 2005.

[4]It should be pointed out that Iranian Leader Khamenei has intervened in the past in decisions by conservative ruling bodies that led to crisis in the political system and which he viewed as a threat to the status quo. In December 2001, for example, following a Judiciary Authority ruling to imprison reformist parliament member Hossein Loqmanian, Khamenei ordered his release from prison. Two months ago, Khamenei called upon the conservative MPs to cease the dismissals of Khatami's ministers, claiming that it was harming the functioning of the regime.

[5]IRNA (Iran), May 28, 2005; Sharq, May 29, 2005. Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi-Lari published a letter to the Guardian Council in which he warned against military intervention in the election process. This came as a response to declarations attributed to the Guardian Council spokesman, who said that there is nothing legal to prevent military intervention in the elections "in the operational and supervisory area." In another announcement issued in Shiraz, Moussavi-Lari warned the Basij forces against intervening in the elections. IRNA (Iran), May 31, 2005.

[6]IRNA (Iran), June 2, 2005.

[7]Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi also described voting in the elections as a "religious duty." ISNA (Iran), June 1, 2005.

[8]IRNA (Iran), May 10, 2005.

[9]IRNA (Iran), May 10, 2005.

[10]Iran Daily (Iran), June 9, 2005.

[11]Karrubi received 10.8% of the vote, Ahmadi-Nejad 7.7%, Mehralizadeh 5.9%, and Rezai 4.7%. IRNA (Iran), June 11, 2005.

[12]Rezai received 2.8% of the vote, Karrubi only 0.8%, and Mehralizadeh 0.6%. IRNA (Iran), June 14, 2005.

[13]Amir Mohabayan, an editor of the conservative Iranian daily Risalat, expressed frustration at the conservatives' inability to reach a consensus, Iran Daily, June 7, 2005. Majlis Vice Chairman Mohammad Reza Bahonar called upon the less popular candidates to withdraw from the elections, Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), June 7, 2005.

[14]Criticism has been expressed in various op-eds about the candidates' lack of plans to combat unemployment, corruption, and drugs, e.g. Mardomsalari (Iran), June 3, 2005; Iran Daily (Iran), June 9, 2005; Hamshahri (Iran), June 13, 2005; Kayhan (Iran), June 9, 2005; and Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), April 12, 2005.

[15]Sharq (Iran), June 9, 2005; Iran Daily (Iran), June 9, 2005.

[16]Iran Daily (Iran), May 30, 2005, citing an interview given to IRNA (Iran), June 8, 2005. He said that justice "means that opportunities and the state's institutions will be available to the public on an equal and fair basis..." Iran Daily (Iran), June 9, 2005.

[17]Tehran Times (Iran), June 2, 2005.

[18]Sharq, June 9, 2005; Iran Daily (Iran), June 9, 2005.

[19]Kayhan (Iran), June 6, 2005; Iran Daily (Iran), June 6, 2005.

[20]IRNA (Iran), June 8, 2005.

[21]Tehran Times (Iran), June 2, 2005.

[22]After hunger-striking for several days, Ganji received a furlough from prison for medical treatment, during which he gave an interview to opposition websites: http://roozonline.com/11english/007570.shtml. His furlough was revoked, contrary to agreement, and he was taken to prison at the order of General Prosecutor Said Mortazavi. Sharq, June 9, 2005.

[23]IRNA (Iran), May 28, 2005; Sharq, May 29, 2005; Sharq (Iran), June 2, 2005.

[24]Sharq (Iran), June 9, 2005; Iran Daily (Iran), June 9, 2005.

[25]Iran Daily (Iran), June 14, 2005; Sharq (Iran), June 14, 2005.

[26]Al-Hayat (London), June 2, 2005.

[27]IRNA (Iran), June 11, 2005.

[28]Sharq (Iran), June 6, 2005. The reformist Islamic Republic Mojahideen Organization recently declared its support for Mo'in.

[29]Sharq (Iran), June 7, 2005; ISNA, June 6, 2005. Former reformist MP and senior official in the reformist Islamic Republic Mojahideen Organization Mostafa Tajzadeh expressed the same stance, Iran Daily (Iran), June 9, 2005.

[30]IRNA (Iran), May 28, 2005; Sharq (Iran), May 29, 2005.

[31]Sharq (Iran), June 2, 2005, June 9, 2005.

[32]Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), May 2, 2005; May 8, 2005; May 30, 2005. Iran Daily (Iran), May 30, 2005; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), March 8, 2005.

[33]Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), May 19, 2005.

[34]Sharq (Iran), June 2, 2005.

[35]IRNA (Iran), June 13, 2005.

[36]Sharq (Iran), June 2, 2005. In an election interview with IRNA (Iran), Rafsanjani also called for encouraging tourism to Iran by softening Iran's treatment of foreigners in the country, and by avoiding intruding into their privacy. He acknowledged that the Iranian regime had been tough in enforcing the Islamic dress code for tourists to Iran, but said that the chador is a principle and essential value of the regime. He also called for the return of the Iranian elite and its intellectual and material capital, that had fled the country following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. IRNA (Iran), June 13, 2005.

[37]IRNA (Iran), June 13, 2005.