Iran Election: Hardline Guardian Council reconsider Rouhani candidacy
Iranian media reported that the Guardian Council would convene Monday to reassess the qualifications of Hassan Rouhani, as reports emerged that leading reformists had reached a deal to form a coalition around his candidacy.
Mashreq News, Fars News Agency and Mehr News Agency cited four reasons for the re-evaluation of Rouhani’s candidacy.
The first was his “defense of the illegal activities” of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two candidates in the controversial 2009 election who have since that year remained under house arrest.
Second, the two reports said the Guardian Council would discuss Rouhani’s publication of classified intelligence information about the Iranian nuclear file during the last debate, which was aired live on state TV Friday.
The third factor cited was his delivery of a speech in the neighborhood of Jamaran, in north Tehran, without first securing the permission of the Interior Ministry as required by law.
Finally the agency said the Guardian Council would review Rouhani’s candidacy in light of “his illegal activities and speeches” in Shiroudi Stadium.
The reports quoted the spokesman of the Guardian Council, Abbasali Kadkhodai, as saying, “until the day of election, it’s possible for blocking candidates if they break the law, even in the day before election day.”
The reports came as Hossein Shariatmadari, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in Kayhan publishing group and the editor-in-chief of Kayhan daily newspaper, wrote an article early Monday saying that a committee of top reformists had reached an agreement that Mohammad Reza Aref would drop out of the race to unite reformist ranks around Rouhani’s candidacy.
Shariatmadari said the decision was reached in coordination with former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was himself disqualified by the Guardian Council from running in this year’s election.
Citing sources close to reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, Sharatmadari wrote that though the decision had been finalized, it would not be announced until Wednesday.
He also called upon conservatives to form a similar alliance ahead of Friday’s election.
The local media reports said the Kadkhodai would deliver a press conference before noon in Tehran to announce the decision of the Guardian Council.