Iranian regime disqualifies hundreds of presidential candidates

One sure-fire way to win a presidential election is to disqualify hundreds of  potential presidential candidates, like the Iranian regime’s unelected “Guardian Council” did prior to the upcoming the June 14 election to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran was condemned by the United States on Tuesday for its disqualification of the candidates, and accused the clerical leadership of seeking to tighten its grip on power.

According to State Department deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell: “It appears that Iran’s unelected Guardian Council, which is unaccountable to the Iranian people, has disqualified hundreds of potential candidates based on vague criteria.”

Ventrell added: “The Council narrowed the list of almost 700 potential candidates down to eight officials based solely on who the regime believes will represent its interests, rather than those of the Iranian people.”

“The lack of transparency makes it unlikely that the slate of candidates represents the will of the Iranian people, who should be given every opportunity to choose a president who best embodies their view,” he stated.

The State Department deputy spokesman also said that there were “troubling signs” that the government was moving to slow down or cut off Internet access.   It’s an apparent  attempt by the Iranian government to stifle the rights of their own people by denying them freedom of speech ahead of the election.

The conservative-dominated Guardian Council claims that they base their decisions on which  presidential candidates they disqualify or vet based on their devotion to the Islamic Revolution.  As a result of their vetting process,  the candidate field dropped from six hundred eighty-six down to eight.

Coincidence or not, all of the eventual eight lucky men who were chosen are also close to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in their religious and political beliefs.

The rejected candidates represent a veritable Who’s Who of Iranian politics.  The candidates who didn’t make the Guardian Council’s cut include Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate who served as president from 1989 to 1997, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, a controversial aid to Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad, like two-term presidents in the United States currently, is constitutionally banned from seeking a third term.

The most likely candidate of the eight left after the disqualification process appears to be lead nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, a figure close to top decision-maker Khamenei.

Ever since the revolution of 1979 when the U.S. embassy was seized by Islamist students who held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, Washington has not had effective  diplomatic relations with Iran.

One of the reasons why their is no love lost between the United States and Iran is that Washington considers Iran’s nuclear program to be aimed at at developing nuclear weapons,  despite Tehran’s protestations that they intend to use nuclear power only for peaceful  purposes, like providing electricity for its people.

A second reason is that the United States also accuses Iran of being a “state sponsor of terrorism.” This accusation is  based on Iran’s support for Hezbollah, Hamas and other regional militant groups.

Hezbollah has recently joined forces with President Bashar Assad of Syria. They are fighting side-by-side with the Syrian troops against the rebels in what many countries in the West equate with an act of genocide.

Written by: Douglas Cobb

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