Guardian Council signals no effort to overturn vote, but keeps some pressure on President Rouhani


UPDATE 1600 GMT: Stepping back from any immediate challenge to President Rouhani, the judiciary has quickly ruled against claims of fraud in the May 19 election.

Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei referred to the Guardian Council report’s in declaring that no irregularity had affected the outcome.

UPDATE 1545 GMT: Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has retained the post that he has held since May 2008.

Larijani was unopposed.

Ali Motahari and Masoud Pezeshkian were also returned as Deputy Speakers.

Defying their defeats in the Presidential and local council elections on May 19, conservatives have taken 9 of the 12 seats on the presiding board of the Majlis.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Iran’s Guardian Council has confirmed President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election, despite claims by hardliners about irregularities in the vote.

In a letter to the Interior Ministry, the head of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, said the 12-member panel had examined complaints but ultimately verified President Rouhani’s re-election.

However, the Council maintained some pressure on the President by referring some claims of irregularities had been sent to judicial bodies for further investigation.

Since the May 19 vote and Rouhani’s unexpectedly large victory over hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi by a 57% to 38.5% margin, the President’s opponents opponents have tried to limit the President’s legitimacy with complaints of irregularities.

Raisi’s camp spoke ominously of a fraudulent vote on Election Day, but in the end, the cleric limited his claims to an assertion of the shortage of ballot papers in some areas.

However, the Supreme Leader’s office appeared to endorse a tougher line through a Tehran Friday Prayer leader declaring that election “violations” had inflated Rouhani’s victory by millions of votes. And on Sunday night, Raisi told supporters, “I ask the Guardian Council and the judiciary not to let the people’s rights get trampled. If this vote-tampering is not looked into, then the people’s trust will be damaged.”

While the Council’s announcement on Tuesday rules out any prospect of overturning the result, the referral to the judiciary gives its hardline head Sadegh Larijani the chance to press Rouhani.

Larijani said over the weekend that he wanted a quick decision by the Council and then the power to carry out any further investigation.

TOP PHOTO: President Hassan Rouhani votes in Tehran, May 19, 2017

Video: US State Department Struggles with “Why Do You Criticize Iran’s Election But Not Saudi System?”

US Assistant Secretary of State Stuart Jones struggles with a reporter’s question about why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denounced Iran’s elections but not the Saudi political system: