Excluded Larijani Urges Iranians To Vote In Friday’s Presidential Poll
In a statement issued Tuesday [June 15], former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, who was not cleared by the watchdog Guardian Council to stand in Friday’s presidential election, urged Iranians to "make destiny" by voting, but he did not endorse any of the seven candidates.
In a short statement, written in the general terms of Iranian politics, Larijani expressed hope for "wrong manners that are damaging public trust” to be corrected. He ended with a Quranic verse saying God did not change a people’s lot unless they acted to change it themselves.
The Islamic Republic has always attached high importance to turnout in its tightly controlled elections, saying it shows support for the political system and proves its legitimacy. But in this election, many are disillusioned by the conduct of the ruling elite, both in terms of its economic failure and its brutal methods against protesters and dissidents. Surveys show more than 50 percent are not inclined to vote, making this potentially the lowest turnout in the 42-year history of the Islamic Republic.
Larijani’s statement disappointed supporters of Abdolnaser Hemmati, the former central bank governor, who has been endorsed by reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi and by Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, general secretary of the center-right Kargozaran-e Sazandegi (Executives of Construction).
Hemmati has been shunned, however, by most reformist parties and groups, with the umbrella Reforms Front refusing to endorse him after its assembly Monday failed to achieve a two-thirds majority to do so. The main reason for this is not Hemmati himself but the reluctance of many reformists to show they are supporting the controversial election.
Unlike Larijani and vice-President Es'haq Jahangiri, who was also barred from the election, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he will not vote in the election or endorse any candidate.
Larijani did not appeal against the vetting but in a tweet Tuesday insisted that despite several appeals, the council has not offered him their grounds for rejecting him. Larijani's brother Sadegh Amoli-Larijani, one of six jurist members of the 12-strong council present when Larijani's qualifications were discussed, later claimed the council had rejected his brother's qualification after a false report, which he attributed to the intelligence ministry, that Ali Larijani's daughter was a United States citizen.
The council stood by its decision even after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in a speech June 4 urged it to make amendments for the "wrong" done to certain candidates and raised hopes among Larijani supporters that Khamenei might insist the decision be changed.
Claims on Sunday by ex-intelligence minister Heydar Moslehi over his own role in the council’s rejection of another prominent candidate, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, back in 2013 highlighted the role of intelligence bodies in the council’s vetting of candidates. On Monday [June 14], Jahangiri in a series of tweets challenged the Guardian Council to publish a film of its 2013 meetings.
Ali Larijani – and at least two of his four brothers Sadegh Amoli-Larijani, Mohammad-Javad, Bagher and Fazel – have served in top positions in Iran. After playing a crucial role as speaker in marshalling support for the 2105 nuclear deal with world powers, Larijani was successfully proposed by the Rouhani administration to Khamenei in October 2020 to oversee Iran’s strategic 25-year cooperation deal with China.