Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying he wants to “redefine revolutionary ideals” set up by the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, appears to be launching a campaign to run in the upcoming Iranian presidential elections, in February, 2017.
Ahmadinejad was well-known for his incendiary and provocative speeches, which included denying the Holocaust. At the end of his presidential term, from 2005 to 2013, his approval rating was extremely low, and he managed to drive away most constituents across political spectrum, including the topmost hardline leaders. He also became the first Iranian president since 1979 to be summoned by the parliament (Majlis) to answer questions regarding his activities and policies.
After all of this, the common conception among politicians, scholars and policy analysts was that Ahmadinejad would never return to politics. It seemed that his retirement plan focused on founding a university and teaching, but his plan to open a university failed.
Despite his low popularity among people, however, the “principalists” (ultra-conservatives) were still on his side, due to his fierce anti-US, anti-Western and anti-Israel policies and rhetoric, as well as the fact that he remains a major figure in the coalition of several conservative groups, the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran.
The number of hardliners in Iran is on the rise, according to the latest poll. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, appears to be preparing the social base so that a hardline president would replace President Hassan Rouhani after the sanctions are lifted by foreign powers. Khamenei seems to be achieving this by using Iranian media to slander the West and improve the image of hardline politicians. Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appears to be getting ready to take Rouhani’s place, and is reportedly preparing his hardline platform to run in Iran’s 2017 presidential elections.
Rouhani’s popularity and standing are evidently not what they used to be. This seems to have come about largely because of changes in the economy. The overwhelming majority of Iranians believed in Rouhani’s economic promises when they elected him; after the nuclear deal was settled, 63% of Iranians believed that they would witness improvements in the economy and living standards within a year. However, a new report shows that 74% of Iranians said that there have been no economic improvements in the last year.
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Following the emergence of the reformist Green Movement during the previous contest in 2009, when former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi came close to defeating President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hard-line supporters of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, have waged a relentless campaign of oppression to crush the protest movement.
Leading reformers such as Mr Mousavi have been placed under house arrest, while thousands of activists have been jailed and tortured.
During the run-up to the latest contest the Revolutionary Guards were reported to have set up a network of secret prisons around the country to detain anti-regime activists and prevent them from participating in the campaign.
Reformist-backed cleric Hassan Rouhani has won Iran’s presidential election, securing just over 50% of the vote and so avoiding the need for a run-off.
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was well behind in second place.
Turnout was estimated at 72.2% among the 50 million Iranians who were eligible to vote to choose a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was ineligible to stand again.
Mr Rouhani has pledged greater engagement with Western powers.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is scheduled to ratify the vote on 3 August.
The new president will then take the oath in parliament.
Ayatollah Khamenei congratulated Mr Rouhani on his victory.
An American-Iranian pastor imprisoned in Tehran since September may face hanging because of his Christian faith, the Washington Free Beacon reports. Saeed Abedini sent a letter to his family Jan. 10 detailing his torture and treatment by Iranian authorities, and the U.S. State Department expressed “serious concerns” about his situation on Friday. Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said: “This is an extremely critical time for American pastor Saeed and his family. We now know with certainty, from his own words, the brutality and life-threatening danger he faces in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.
The Defence Secretary said that a “third party attack” on Iran’s nuclear programme could choke oil supplies from the Gulf, driving up oil prices.
That would then have “a direct effect” on the UK economic recovery, he told MPs and peers.
Mr Hammond was giving evidence to Parliament’s joint committee on national security strategy when he was asked about the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear programme.
He replied: “Firstly, the Government firmly believes we should continue to pursue the diplomatic route in persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambtions, but in doing so we should take nothing off the table.”
However, he added, a military confrontation with Iran could have harmful economic consequences.