Two Politicians Challenge Khamenei's Authority As Iran Election Nears
Semi-official news agency ISNA has published Monday a list of 28 political figures who have already announced their candidacy for the June 2021 presidential election. The agency has also said that there are probably as many other candidates who have not officially announced their intention to run.
Two of the most vocal candidates who have questioned not only the electoral system, but also the essence of the Islamic Republic come from the far right and the hard left of Iran's political system.
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , who is not on the list, is one of them; an ultraconservative politician who has been challenging the authority of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his hardliner aides since 2017 when his candidacy for the presidential election was rejected by the conservative-led Guardian Council, is one of them.
On the far left, and on the list, there is former Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh who has vowed to return the Revolutionary Guards to their barracks if he wins the election. He has also called on Khamenei to agree to limit the duration of his leadership and assume responsibility for the performance of the government's executive branch as a Leader/President, to put an end to the constant non-constructive verbal arguments between two centers of power.
Ahamdinejad has published a video on social media threatening the Guardian Council, its Secretary and other members that they might have to stand trial for what they are doing today. The Council is notorious in blocking politicians the hardliners do not want from running for office.
While Ahmadinejad has not been directly addressing Khamenei in his recent letters and videos, Tajzadeh makes a straightforward and direct challenge. In a letter published on his Instagram page, Tajzadeh called on Khamenei to set up a council to review Iran’s Constitutional Law to introduce changes including limiting Khamenei's term of office.
"You said in the previous election that even those who oppose you should go to the polls. Please announce in this round of the election that even your opponents can become candidate and that they can implement their own plans if they are elected," Tajzadeh wrote.
He insisted that Khamenei should make it known that various parts of his regime should honor the people's vote, adding that this will lead to the nation's progress and will make its leader proud.
Tajzadeh also asked Khamenei to order everyone in Iran to respect the Constitutional Law and that anything against the law should be abolished and abandoned. Meanwhile, he reminded that what the country needs is a single source of legislation that would put an end to the "every man for himself" way of running the country. He further called on Khamenei to distance himself from non-democratic behavior.
Tajzadeh went on to say that the experience of the past 42 years has revealed many flaws in the Constitution, adding that the Iranian Constitutional Law needs to be revised in a way that would rid it of articles which give way to differences and disruptions in the country.
The required changes in the law, he said, includes the merging of the authorities of the Leader and the President, and limiting the top officeholder’s term of office. The Vali-e Faqih [the guardian jurisconsult] should be an elected position, Tajzadeh stressed.
Meanwhile, he reminded Khamenei that "the revolution of communications has made it difficult for rulers to run the affairs of the state based on their personal taste. The people's will, shall prevail sooner or later," he stressed.
Tajzadeh concluded, "If the leaders agree with the people's demands and lead the reforms, they will win the nation's trust and ensure maximum participation in elections."