Warnings on Post Election Spanks to Reexamination of Qualifications
With only a few days left for the eleventh presidential elections in Iran, verbal attacks by military men and some appointees of the supreme leader of Iran on the qualified presidential candidates are on the rise so much that they have been accused of “exaggerating” the situation in the country through their criticism. Some even said it was not possible to not act against these “violations” and threatened to take action against the candidates after the elections on June 14th. At the same time, some news reports also surfaced about a re-examination of the fitness qualifications the regime enforced to run for the presidency for Hassan Rowhani, the candidate who is loosely associated with the reformists.
The Basij and public relations deputy at the supreme command of Iran’s armed forces made remarks that were widely published by media under the control of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and said, “We had also warned in the past that it would be best if the respected candidates constrained their talks to the authorities of the president and refrain from making comments on the armed forces which are directly related to questions of defense and national security.”
Guards general Masoud Jazaeri also spoke of confronting candidates after the elections. “We reserve the right to legally confront those candidates who have disregarded these constraints and have engaged in spreading un-true information or in games, and leave this to post election time,” he said.
This is not the first time such threats are made. In early May, the public relations headquarters of the supreme defense command headed by Guards general Jazaeri issued a statement asking presidential candidates to “behave in such a manner in their debates and campaign activities that does not allow the enemy to misuse the situation to engage in propaganda against the country and the armed forces.”
Such a direct threat to confront presidential candidates after the election by a senior military officer comes at a time when other offices and appointees of the supreme leader too have increased their attacks on the candidates.
On June 8th, IRGC general Hamid-Reza Moghadamfar, the cultural deputy of the force claimed that some candidates engaged in fabrications while their videos create despair for people. These gentlemen must be told you they themselves live in the dust so why do “you make accusations against the country. They say the country is in a cold winter while they themselves have been frozen.”
While this officer did not name any one, he was directly referring to the remarks that Hassan Rowhani had made earlier when he compared the country’s situation to a “cold winter.”
At the same time, Guards general Mohammad Ismail Kowsari, the former commander of the Sarollah base and a current member of the national security council in the Majlis also warned the presidential candidates for their criticism of the current conditions in the country. “Criticism should not result in wickedness because past administrations each had strong and weak points and the candidates should indicate their strong features as well. The candidates should also be aware that a day may come when they themselves will be critiqued and so would they like their actions be treated wickedly,” he said. He did not stop there and threatened that the Guardian Council would reexamine Hassan Rowhani’s credentials because of his criticism of the current conditions in the country and Ahmadinejad’s administration, the nuclear dispute with the West and the reasons for the international sanctions. He claimed that the “GC had the authority to do that and that the candidates had been told that their remarks, actions and analysis were under the purview of the Council.
In addition, the mouthpiece of the political organ of the Revolutionary Guards, Sobh Sadegh published an article in which it accused two of the presidential candidates, Mohammad-Reza Aref and Hassan Rowhani, of being deceitful and exaggerating problems. It characterized some of the remarks and criticism of the candidates as “unforgivable.” The article concluded that the candidates were resorting to any action to win attention and votes. In addition to strongly criticizing Rowhani, it also said some of the candidates proudly mentioned the names of the reformist leaders who the regime has put under house arrest since early 2011.
Another general, Yadollah Javani, the former head of the political office of the IRGC whose name is on the blacklist of the UN international sanctions also criticized the candidates and belittled the campaigns and practices of the candidates by calling them Western in style. He wrote that ridiculing others was a Western campaigning method, not Islamic. “If economic problems currently exist, such as inflation, unemployment and price hikes, these should not be made the focus of attention and progress too should be mentioned,” he said. Javani also accused the candidates of disregarding the advice of the supreme leader. It is worth noting that on June 4th, ayatollah Khamenei had told the eight presidential candidates not to ridicule what had been accomplished while adding that it was alright to criticize.