Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Iranian "Elections"

As June 17 presidential elections kick off in Iran, the Iranians have a choice between hard-liner Ali Larijani and centrist Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Nether one is a palatable choice for the United States. Other candidates such as Ali Akbar Velayati and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, both hard-liners, and the “reformist” Mohsen Mehralizadeh are also said to be running or considering running. Don’t look for much in the title reformist, current President Mohammad Khatami is said to be a reformist. Don’t look for much in the term election either, the Guardians Council can and has disqualified candidates it deems unfit. As Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has stated, existing vetting procedures mean "free and healthy" elections are impossible. In the last presidential elections in 2001, the Guardians Council whittled down a list of some 900 would-be candidates to just 10. Hossein Derakhshan lists some of the other possible conservative and new-conservative candidates including Javad Larijani, Ali Larijani's brother. Hossien's "idealist part" would like to see Ebadi as President. My hopes for her are a little less grand, I'm hoping she doesn't get arrested and tortured.

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