UPDATE JAN 5, 0930 GMT: Well-placed sources say that hardliners, allied with former President Ahmadinejad, are planning a challenge by Saeed Jalili — the former Secretary of the National Security Council and Presidential candidate in 2013 — to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.
The sources say the Endurance Front, formed to contest the 2012 Parliamentary election, wants Jalili to stand in the 2016 vote as a candidate for the holy city of Qom.
Qom is also the constituency of Larijani, who has been Speaker of Parliament since 2008.
Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad — possibly planning his own comeback in Iranian politics — will travel to Venezuela at the end of February to attend the memorial ceremony of President Hugo Chavez and to establish a branch of “the University of Iranians” in Caracas. He will be accompanied by his senior advisors.
The former President is said to be planning visits to Syria, Lebanon, Russia, and Belarus later in the year.
Periodically, Iran’s political scene ripples with the prospect of a comeback by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Although he left office in August 2013 under the clouds of political criticism and economic mismanagement and corruption, Ahmadinejad has retained supporters among hardline MPs, clerics, and media outlets.
had set up a media group Havadarn-e Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), including prominent websites such as Dowlat-e Bahar, Ayin News and Rais Jomhur-e ma (Our President). These outlets and another site, 72 Square — named after the roundabout in Tehran’s Narmak neighborhood where Ahmadinejad lives — have been attacking the Rouhani Government and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani as well as boosting Ahmadinejad.
Last spring, the media group Havadarn-e Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad established websites such as Dowlat-e Bahar, Ayin News and Rais Jomhur-e ma (Our President), and 72 Square — named after the roundabout in Tehran’s Narmak neighborhood where Ahmadinejad lives. There was even a “DrAhmadinejad” Twitter account, although it soon fell dormant.
In June, the former President gave high-profile speeches on the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s death. And last month, more rumors were spurred by his appearance with political allies at a commemoration ceremony for Prophet Mohammad.
Now Saeed Jalili — hardline candidate for the Presidency in 2013, former Secretary of the National Security Council, and former lead nuclear negotiator — adds a photographic message via Twitter:
On the sidelines of a meeting of the Expediency Council. pic.twitter.com/9Xm3UozHLu
— Saeed Jalili (@DrSaeedJalili) January 3, 2015
Jalili has tweeted infrequently since his Presidential campaign, so the decision to put out an image of Ahmadinejad — pointing to a political alliance — could be significant. And is there anything to be read into the promotion in English, rather than Farsi?