Iran Briefing: Approaching the twelfth round of the presidential election in 2017, parties and political groups are introducing their potential candidates. There are several whispers and rumors around the question of whom and which parties will be candidates in the next round. One of the most famous people, who has always been in the headlines over the years, is Commander Qusem Soleimani, the Quds Force commander who is likely to be introduced by conservatives as the candidate of the party.
Soleimani is one of the most well-known Iranian military figures whose name is repeatedly heard these days in fundamentalists’ media and security news agencies. Considering numerous rumors about the possibility of the re-nomination of “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”, this likely candidate of the conservatives might be the only chance for them that, unfortunately, can be largely welcome to the public due to his recent positive publicity.
After the publication of his threating letter to “Mohammad Khatami”, (the President of Reforms) during the events of July 9, 1999 (Tir 18, 1388), Commander Soleimani has remained silent in almost all the happenings in Iran’s internal politics. In fact, he tries to present himself as apolitical and non-partisan.
However, after the ninth and tenth government’s scandal and the bitter experience of holding the tenth disputed presidential election and widespread popular protests, conservatives have no longer had a candidate acceptable to the general public and indeed they do not have the power to contend with “Hasan Rouhani” for the presidency.
These events, as well as the conservatives’ lack of political principles which always hide their true face behind the leadership of the Islamic Republic and making extensive advantages of his presence, increase the possibility of Soleimani’s presence in the next presidential election. The powerful military figure, who claims that he has eliminated the threat of war in the country, engaging in the proxy war with the enemies in the neighbors’ land, is the figure made by the media, exaggerating him as great as heroes and legendary heroes.
Although introducing Commander Soleimani as a presidential candidate is not far from reality, he will cause several problems as a military man. The presence of the military in Iran’s presidential election has always failed. The history of the presence of Admiral “Ali Shamkhani” in 2001 versus “Mohammad Khatami”, “Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf” and “Mohsen Rezaei” in the ninth, tenth and eleventh periods of presidential elections indicated a lack of public interest in supporting military candidates or even pro-military candidates such as “Saeed Jalili”.
However, with all these attributes, many of the conservatives are in favor of Commander Soleimani’s presence in taking part in the twelfth election period due to his media popularity among people, so that the military commander may not experience the fate of the others.
Another reason is that the fundamentalists are certain that, in case of his nomination, he will not be criticized by the influential reformist figures such as Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khatami and Rouhani due to the leadership’s support and the media attention around him; therefore, the chance of his presence at the presidential palace will increase.
“Al-Monitor” newspaper, in an article about the upcoming Iranian presidential election and Qusem Soleimani’s nomination, noted that “in case of the Commander Soleimani’s presence, reformers may not have the desire to compete with him.” However, Qusem Soleimani’s presence will also cause oppositions either by conservatives or reformists.
Senior presidential adviser, Torkan, says: “Commander Soleimani is beloved by all of the Iranian people. He is a non-partisan national hero character so he is unlikely to participate in the elections.”
Nader Ghazipour, the controversial and conservative representative at the tenth Parliament also mentions: “It is a pity to spend Soleimani, as a symbol of battles, on presidency; he should not be spent on politics.”
Some others also believe that military forces will lose their immunity by taking part in the election and this may be the reason why they are reluctant to Soleimani’s participation in this campaign.
It took years of advertising to build a character out of Qusem Soleimani as the “Great commander and the international conqueror” who is fully supported by the supreme leader and who is popular among people. In fact, his participation in an election will destroy all these false superhero advertising efforts over the years.
Military presence, in charge of the country’s administrative system, will cause bigger problems. It is not less than a creeping and designed coup, if a military person makes all major decisions of a country.
The military has repeatedly proved that not only do they not have any significant interest in national security and interest, but also whenever it was necessary, they have paid the country’s capital without the consent of the people. They have not responded to any questions about their actions whether to the government and parliament, or to the judiciary.
Regardless of the people’s demands and national interests, the Corps commanders have acted based on their own will and these acts and actions have imposed noticeable costs to the country.
Threatening messages of Commander Soleimani as a likely future presidential candidate to the Al Khalifa family and the Bahraini government is a clear example of intervention in the foreign policy, regardless of the consequences for the incumbent administration. His irresponsibility and bellicosity will cause consequences for Iran’s foreign policy and its people.
In the historical memory of Iranians, choosing commander Soleimani, and any other armies like him, evokes the rising power of “Reza Khan Mir Panj” and the beginning of Pahlavi monarchy. Of course, in last 11 years, persons have tried to stylize the situation in a way that facilitates the entry of armed forces through introducing Commander Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf as a technocratic mayor of the capital, Tehran, on the mayoral seat. However, these days the evidence is protruding from each corner to complete the scandal puzzle of the military mayor of the capital.
Introducing the commander of Khatam Base as the Minister of Petroleum and the financial corruption of oil rents assigned to “Babak Zanjani” also did not build anything other than scandals. Now, commander Soleimani’s threatening statement, addressing the rulers of Bahrain, has contradicted the advertised figure of Iran’s military superhero. The evidence suggests that releasing his statements, we should expect the regional and international consequences of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s threats and behaviors on the name of Iran that its revenues for the country will be nothing but daily conflicts and crisis.Commander Soleimani Commander Soleimani Commander Soleimani
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