Tehran, May 6, IRNA -- Presidential hopeful and member of the Tehran
Islamic City Council Ebrahim Asgharzadeh said on Sunday that the
news blackout imposed by reformist papers on his intention to run
in the next presidential elections is not in the interest of
Iran's reformist movement.
The presidential hopeful also criticized both the attempts to
portray President Mohammad Khatami as a saint and his cabinet's
He also suggested that the reformist movement should not invest on
a single candidate who is the incumbent president.
Talking to reporters after completing his registration, the former
radical student leader who has become a strong advocate of reforms
said that as a reformist candidate he will pose a serious challenge to
President Khatami in this bid for re-election in the upcoming polls
slated for June 8.
Expressing concern over the high possibility of his
disqualification by the the electoral supervisory body of the
Guardian Council (GC), the city councilor urged both President Khatami
and the GC to prepare the ground for him to be declared as an approved
Meanwhile, Asgharzadeh's wife Tahereh Rezazadeh, an MP from
Shiraz, who was accompanying her husband said that although she had a
totally different view about her spouse's participation in the
presidential race, she will continue her ultimate moral support to
Asgharzadeh on Saturday had said that polarization of presidential
elections between incumbent President Mohammad Khatami and the faction
opposing him is not in the interest of the Islamic system.
Speaking at a press conference attended by foreign and domestic
reporters, the reformist nominee said that although Khatami
administration has benefited from an unprecedented backing of the
Iranian nation but voters in the eighth presidential elections will
have a different attitude.
The city councilor said that the presence of President Khatami in
the race should not act as a barrier for other hopefuls. However, the
former student leader admired the personality of President Mohammad
Expressing concern over his possible disqualification by the
electoral supervisory body of the Guardian Council (GC), the political
activist who played a major role in the 1979 take over of the then
U.S. Embassy in Tehran (known as the den of espionage) said he had had
no other option but to take part in the upcoming presidential
The five-day registration period for the eighth presidential
elections, which began on Wednesday, will end on Sunday.
Defense Minister Shamkhani new presidential hopeful
Tehran, May 6, IRNA -- Defense Minister Vice-Admiral Ali Shamkhani
stepped in as a new candidate for the next presidential elections,
slated for June 8.
The defense minister went to the Ministry of the Interior on
Sunday afternoon to personally register in the presidential race.
Following the completion of the registration procedure, Shamkhani
declined to answer questions posed by reporters who were present at
the State Electoral Headquarters at the Interior Ministry Building,
but he left with them a text on why he has decided to run in the
eighth presidential elections.
Shamkhani, 46, was born in the city of Ahvaz, capital of the
southwestern province of Khuzestan.
Prior to his latest portfolio in President Mohammad Khatami's
cabinet as defense minister, he had served in various military and
revolutionary guard positions.
The five-day registration period for the upcoming eighth
presidential elections, which began on Wednesday, will end on Sunday
Up to Sunday morning 358 people had registered to run in the
presidential race among them only a handful well-known figures.
Incumbent President Khatami on Friday added his name to the list
of hopefuls. Before the start of the official registration, many
political analysts contended that Khatami will easily win the race.
Former labor minister signs up for June presidential polls
Tehran, May 6, IRNA -- Former labor minister Ahmad Tavakoli on Sunday
filed his elections bid for the June 8 presidential race, an IRNA
"A goal behind my nomination is to win the people's confidence
through standing against new wave of political opportunists," Tavakoli
told reporters at the interior ministry.
50-year-old Tavakoli, a former MP who is close to the
conservative camp, had earlier said he would run as an independent. He
holds a doctorate in economics at the University of Nottingham in
Other prominent figures registered recently are Ibrahim
Asgharzadeh, a leading figure in the 1979 U.S. embassy seizure, former
MP Qassem Sholeh-Saadi, vice-president Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, a
founding member of the centrist Executives of Construction Party.
Hashemi-Taba has said he would run as independent for the eighth race.
Incumbent President Mohammad Khatami reluctantly announced on
Friday he would stand for re-election, even though he is plagued by
doubts over the future of his reforms which are opposed by the
He is widely expected to win a second term despite repeated
setbacks to his campaign for greater freedom and democracy. His
conservative opponents seem to be at a loss to produce a heavyweight
to challenge him.
Some 360 people have signed up to contest the presidency, but only
a handful are expected to be cleared to run. Among the unlikely
candidates are a street peddler and 22-year-old farmer-philosopher
with shoulder-length hair.
Candidates have until Sunday to register for the crucial polls
after which the election watchdog, the Guardian Council, is to screen
candidates' qualifications within ten days.
Certified candidates are to start their election campaigns on May
19 up to June 6, that is, a total period of 19 days. The campaign
period ends two days before the election day.
Under the country's elections law, a bona-fide candidate must be
"a political figure, of Iranian origin, of the official state religion
(Islam), faithful to the cause of the Islamic Republic."
Some 42 million Iranians are eligible to vote out of a population
of 62 million.
In the first national presidential race in 1980, 124 people filed
their intention to run but only 106 were certified.
In the second presidential election, the number of candidates who
filed applications for candidacy trimmed down to 71. Only four were
In the third presidential race, 46 people filed applications but
only four were certified by the Guardian Council.
The number of candidates who filed applications stood at 50 in the
fourth race, at 79 in the fifth race, at 128 in the sixth race and at
238 in the seventh race. Three were certified in the fourth race, two
in the fifth race, four in the sixth race, and also four in the
seventh presidential race.
Former military chief says not intending to stand in elections
Tehran, May 6, IRNA -- Mohsen Rezaei, the former chief of the elite
Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps, has said he is not intending to
stand as a contender in the June presidential elections.
Press had already reported that he was considering to stand
as a hopeful in the next presidential elections.
"I am waiting to see what plans (President Mohammad) Khatami has
in mind" in order to decide on my participation, the Persian daily
Aftab-e Yazd had quoted him as saying.
Rezaei told the students news agency ISNA that his recent
statements were aimed to drive the political scene of the country
out of deadlock.
"I wanted to attract the public opinion as well as the attention
of political pundits to main issues of the elections so that they do
not merely wait to see whether (President Mohammad) Khatami was
participating (in the electoral race) or not," ISNA cited him as
Rezaei recently blasted President Mohammad Khatami's silence over
whether he will stand for re-election and accused him of
misrepresenting the nation's unemployment numbers as well as growth
Rezaei warned that if the moderate cleric tried to distance
himself `from the people and from Islam, we will in turn distance
ourselves from you'.
On Friday, Khatami put an end to months of speculations on his
decision and registered as a hopeful in the next presidential
Rezaei predicted that Khatami would face a myriad of problems if
elected again, saying "increasing unemployment, widening state debts,
insecurity, social corruption and drug trafficking as well as internal
disputes inside the rulership" would be his main challenges in the
next four years.
Khatami on Friday said he would have preferred not to run and
instead "serve the nation and the people" in some other capacity.
"The origin of my doubts was the future, and concern about the
future, of the revolution and the nation, and I am still concerned,"
the 57-year-old cleric said.
A record 357 candidates have registered so far for the June
election and more are still expected to file their papers at the
interior ministry before the registration closes on Sunday.
So far several prominent figures, among them city councilor
Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, the dean of the Islamic Azad University
Abdullah Jasbi, vice president and the head of Iran physical training
organization Mostafa Hashemi-Taba as well as former Tehran MP Hassan
Ghafouri-Fard, have stepped forward to pose a challenge to Khatami.
"The announcement of Khatami's candidacy Friday convinced me even
more to play a more serious role in this election," the 46-year-old
Asgharzadeh told reporters after filing his election papers.
Former labor minister Ahmad Tavakoli on Sunday handed over his
nomination papers at the interior ministry.
Immediately after closure of the registrations, the 12-member
oversight Guardians Council will start studying the record of the
hopefuls and has five days to declare the names of the eligible
... Payvand News - 5/6/01 ... --