Monday, June 27, 2005

Iran media watch: Kayhan and Hoseyn Shari'atmadari were big losers

Iran media watch: Iranian presidential election; winners and losers: "Media Monitor

Iran media watch: Iranian presidential election; winners and losers
Jun 27, 2005, 16:05 GMT

Like every other election, Iran's presidential election in June 2005 had its winners and losers. President-elect Mahmud Ahmadinezhad was not the only winner and the other hopefuls, including Ahmadinezhad's rival in the runoff Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, were not the only losers.

The losers

Rafsanjani, however, is the most visible loser. Even his post as the chairman of Expediency Council is obsolete. The Council was established to intervene in order to resolve deadlocks in dealings between the executive, legislative and judiciary powers. With Ahmadinezhad's election, all three of them are under the control of Iran's powerful conservative camp.

For nearly three decades, "Iranians saw Rafsanjani as an example of a clever and powerful man... and saw his hands at work behind the scene of Iranian politics. Now he has lost the election to a medium-level manager and has appealed for God's justice because of his frustration over those he described as the ones who either cannot or are not willing to do anything to restore his rights." (BBC Persian Online, 26 June 05).

The right-wing Islamic Coalition Party (ICP) as one of Iran's main and oldest political organizations was another big loser. The ICP and its affiliate Coordination Council of Revolutionary Forces failed to recognize Ahmadinezhad's prominence and chose former Iranian radio and television chief Ali Larijani as the conservative camp's official candidate. (Larijani.ir, Larijani's own website, 13 June 2003)

The hard-line daily, Kayhan, and its outspoken managing editor Hoseyn Shari'atmadari was the next big loser. Two days before the first round of the election, in the daily's editorial he had called on Ahmadinezhad to withdraw in favour of Ali Larijani and General Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, another conservative candidate. (Kayhan, 15 June 05)

Iran's main reformist parties, the Islamic Iran Participation Party and the Islamic Revolution's Mojahedin Organization, lost the election in the sense that they supported Mo'in in the first round and Rafsanjani in the second round and both of them failed to win the election. Yet the biggest loss in the course of this election was sustained by the Iranian opposition abroad who had boycotted the election all together. They seem to have lost their credibility, as "more than 27,959,000 Iranians went to the polls in the second round of the election". (IRNA news agency, 24 June 05)

As it became clear in Ahmadinezhad's first international press conference in Tehran as Iran's president-elect, political prisoners and vulnerable groups including women and intellectuals have little to gain as a result of Ahmadinezhad's taking office as president. Asked what would his reaction be if the EU-3 call for Iran to respect human rights, he said: " I think that the European side should come out of its ivory tower and do not address the Iranian nation with arrogance. These arguments are banal, outdated and disgusting." (IRINN, Iranian TV News Network, 26 June 05)

The winners

"Tehran's Mayor Ahmadinezhad rose to power against all the forecasts made by political and social analysts." (SYNA, Society of Iranian Youth News Agency news agency, 26 June 05)

Kayhan's managing editor thought that "like Mohsen Reza'i, he had no chance to win the election and suggested that the two of them should withdraw in favour of Larijani and Qalibaf", (Rooz, a web-based daily, 25 June) and until the results of the first round of the election was announced it was only the Independent Students' Islamic Association, a Tehran Municipality affiliate, that based on an opinion poll announced that he had "an 84 per cent chance to win the election". ( Gooya news, 10 June 05)

Although Ahmadinezhad is the official winner of the election, the biggest winner could be Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamene'i who, after 16 years, has managed to bring all the three government bodies under a hard-line conservative umbrella. And with the ultra-conservative Ahmadinezhad elected as head of the executive body, for the first time in the history of Islamic Republic, the country's non-elected leader will be exercising his command over a fairly homogenous group of top officials.

The third biggest winner is Abadgaran (Developers), a neo-conservative political establishment formed two years ago to win the Tehran City Council elections and to ignite the Iranian conservatives' revival six years after reformist President Mohammad Khatami's landslide victory which disrupted the country's delicate political balance in 1997. Now the party has both the Majlis (Iranian parliament) and the cabinet office under its control and exerts a significant influence on the Iranian Judiciary, a body dominated by traditional conservatives. According to Iran daily, nine Abadgaran members in the Iranian parliament may join Ahmadinezhad's cabinet in August as ministers. They are Elias Naderan, Fatemeh Ajorlu, Hasan Sobhani, Ahmad Tavakkoli, Amir Reza Khadem., Hoseyn Mozaffar, Emad Afrugh, Abbaspur and Haji Baba'i. (Iran, 27 June 05)

More winners and losers

All this does not mean that there are more winners than losers or vice-versa. These were the main winners and losers in the immediate aftermath of Ahmadinezhad's election as Iran's next president. As his economic and foreign policies become gradually clear and with the formation of his cabinet, new windows of opportunity will be opened for new winners and at the same time, several doors will be closed to those whose names will be added to the list of losers.

Source: BBC Monitoring research in English 27 Jun 05

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Copyright 2005 BBC Monitoring Service distributed by United Press International.

Media Monitor is service designed to give M&C readers an insight into how the world's media are reporting the news.

The content is from BBC Monitoring via UPI and supplies news, information and comment gathered from the mass media around the world.

The articles presented here do not reflect the opinion of M&C News, UPI or the BBC."

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