Heading for showdown

THE announcement of more than 500 candidates, most of them independents and reformists, about their withdrawal from the Iranian legislative elections, which are to be held on February 20, is a step having more than one intention and result.

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Published: Mon 16 Feb 2004, 12:51 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:14 AM

The first intention is that the question of difference between the reformists and conservatives has not been closed, but the reformists led by President Mohammed Khatami preferred to set the issue aside. The withdrawals really featured the emergence of a hardliner stream in the liberal camp, which harbingers the escalation of tensions at any suitable moment in the face of the conservatives, and a new bid from the later to mount pressure on the reformers’ front. This will lead to a reaction that could be more powerful than that expressed by reformists after the conservative-controlled Guardians Council barred a large number of reformists from nomination to the elections. The second intention was that the reformists are still preferring the law to decide any difference that could take place among the government’s organisations or between the state and the citizens or determine the standards and rules which state who has the right for candidacy. But what had actually happened? The standards being approved for nomination are that which had been laid down and blessed by the Iranian supreme leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, according to Abdul Fadheel Raouf, one of the candidates who pulled out of the nomination for elections. As a result of these withdrawals, the conservatives will have more control over the Shoura ‘Consultative’ Council. This might result in escalation of confrontation with the US in case the latter mounted more pressure on Teheran regarding the Iranian nuclear programme.

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