Iran Daily: Ahmadinejad to Regime — Hold Free and Fair Elections


In a pointed — and ironic — challenge to Iran’s regime, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pictured) is calling for free and fair elections.

Ahmadinejad, who was re-elected in 2009 only amid claimed regime intervention to alter the first-round outcome, has issued a series of statements claiming that the ruling systems in the Islamic Republic have lost their legitimacy. In a letter published Sunday on a supportive website, he called on the Supreme Leader to replace President Hassan Rouhani, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, and head of judiciary Sadeq Larijani:

In the current situation, keeping the heads of the three powers of the regime in their positions is facing big challenges that need to be tackled….

Is there any better way to tackle the current challenges than referring to the popular vote and holding new elections? Or perhaps they believe that they should remain in power at any cost and the people and the country should endure them until their terms are over?

During his second term from 2009 to 2013, Ahmadinejad was often at odds with the Supreme Leader and other officials, but the rift has widened in the past year. The former President was barred from running in the 2017 election. His former Vice President, Hamid Baghaei, was given a 63-year sentence in December on charges of corruption. A second ally, former spokesman Ali Akbar Javanfekr, was handed a six-month term.

Ahmadinejad’s supporters have tried to maintain his profile through websites such as Dolat-i Bahar (The Government of Spring) and rallies, including last autumn when Baghaei and Javanfekr briefly took sanctuary in a mosque in southern Tehran.

Without reference to his 2009 re-election, Ahmadinejad said in his letter to the Supreme Leader that free elections should be held without any interference from the Guardian Council, the 12-member body that can disqualify any person running for President and Parliament — and did so with Ahmadinejad in early 2017. He said Ayatollah Khamenei should forbid military institutions, including the Revolutionary Guards, from interfering in the electoral process:

Former allies of Ahmadinejad repudiated his call. The hardline conservative daily Kayhan wrote, “Are those who say everybody should resign and let us to control everything again unaware of the fact that people laugh at them?”

The Supreme Leader, who has implicitly chided the former President in public statements, has not responded to the latest challenge.

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  1. “Ahmadinejad, who was re-elected in 2009 only amid claimed regime intervention to alter the first-round outcome, has issued a series of statements claiming that the Islamic Republic has lost its legitimacy.”

    Firstly, nowhere did Ahmadinejad claim the Islamic Republic had lost “legitimacy”. He instead stated in Farsi there was an erosion of public trust. Secondly, No real evidence of any ” regime intervention” in the 2009 election has ever emerged let alone been proven. Mousavi’s own campaign manager, Abbas Akhoundi, himself admitted no fraud had occurred. To the surprise of many, Ahmadinejad’s Interior Ministry – in a move to demonstrate complete transparency – released the results of all 46,000 ballot boxes used in the election (not just the provincial and county results). Not one of the these was ever shown to be inaccurate or even legally contested by the opposition. Robert Naiman described how Habib, a man living in Tehran but originally from Abadan, repeatedly asked Mousavi supporters in his native town to provide evidence for the alleged manipulation:

    “Habib talked to Mousavi’s campaign manager in Abadan, Seyed Reza Tabatabaie. There were 142 ballot boxes in Abadan; Mousavi had 127 observers. Mousavi’s campaign manager in Abadan said: yeah there was a big fraud. Habib asked, was your number the same as the Interior Ministry? Yeah, he said, it was almost the same. But there was a big fraud. Habib pressed him: what was the fraud? Be specific. No, Mousavi’s guy said, before the election, they gave this guy money, they gave that guy money…”

    The 2009 election involved all four major candidates, including two from the reformist camp. It was one of the freest and fairest in the history of elections in Iran and that explains the 85% turnout. Those who didn’t like the result, including the opposition candidates, invented a conspiracy story they could never defend,

    • To be precise, Ahmadinejad questioned the legitimacy of those leading the key institutions of the Islamic Republic.

      As for the disputed 2009 election, been there, done that with your distortions and misrepresentations (which you repeat above).

      When you can produce the Form 22s, which are the essential documents verifying vote count — and when you can defend widespread disruption of communications and detentions, which began on the eve of the election — and when you can explain Fars’ accidental revelation of the manipulated vote count — and when you defend the subsequent mass detentions and banning of parties, which continues today….

      Then we’ll talk.

  2. Perhaps a moment is needed to ponder over why Ahmadinejad is calling for open elections at this point:

    1. In 2012, 600 pro-Ahmadinejad/Mashaei candidates for the Majlis election were disqualified by the Guardians council.

    2. In 2013, the Guardians council did not approve the candidacy of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei whom Ahmadinejad had openly endorsed and who would almost certainly have forced Rouhani into a 2nd round.

    3. In 2017, the Guardians council blocked him and Baghai from running to challenge Rouhani. Again, the re-election of the president might not have been secured.

    However, the Guardians Council claims it is entitled to screen candidates and supervise elections under Article 110.9 and Article 99:

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