Iran's Moderates Win AoE & City Council Elections; Rafsanjani Is Back In Power.*** The Arab World “Arab States” redirects here. For the political alliance, see Arab League.
The Arab World (Arabic: العالم العربي; Transliteration: al-`alam al-`arabi) stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the Is Split Just As The Middle East Is Divided Into An American-Led Alliance Versus An 'Axis Of Resistance' Headed By Iran
*** Lebanon & Iraq Are The Main Battlefields - As Is The Case Of Palestine, Where Hamas Gets Iranian Funding And Is Facing Civil War With A Fatah Split Into A Group Led By Mahmoud Abbas Mahmoud Abbas (Arabic: محمود عباس) (born March 26, 1935), also known by the kunya Abu Mazen And One Backing Faruq Qaddoumi
*** But Palestinian Infighting in·fight·ing
1. Contentious rivalry or disagreement among members of a group or organization: infighting on the President's staff.
2. Fighting or boxing at close range. Gets Much Less Media Attention Than The Battles Of Iraq & Lebanon
*** In Lebanon There Is A Cold War Between The Pro-West Government And Hizbullah, With The Latter Leading A Score Of Syria-Backed Organisations Bent On Adj. 1. bent on - fixed in your purpose; "bent on going to the theater"; "dead set against intervening"; "out to win every event"
bent, dead set, out to Taking Control Over All The Institutions
TEHRAN - Former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Persian: اکبر هاشمی رفسنجانی Akbar Hāshemī Rafanjānī), Hashemi Bahramani , who supports dialogue with the US and a less confrontational approach on nuclear issues, on Dec. 15 received the most votes of any Tehran candidate to win re-election to the Assembly of Experts (AoE), a body of 86 senior clerics which oversees the supreme leader of the Shi'ite theocracy theocracy
Government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. In many theocracies, government leaders are members of the clergy, and the state's legal system is based on religious law. Theocratic rule was typical of early civilizations. . This has strengthened Rafsanjani's hand against the fundamentalists, including President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad. Also re-elected to the AoE was Hasan Rowhani, a Rafsanjani protege pro·té·gé
One whose welfare, training, or career is promoted by an influential person.
[French, from past participle of protéger, to protect, from Old French, from Latin and Iran's former top nuclear negotiator whom Ahmadi-Nejad has repeatedly accused of making too many concessions to the Europeans.
Final results of the Dec. 15 municipal elections in Tehran have provided evidence that Iran's moderates and reformist politicians - heavily defeated in parliamentary elections in 2004 and presidential elections in June 2005 - are making a comeback. Reformist politicians, three of whom had been ministers under the reformist president Mohammad Khatami Mohammad Khatami (Persian : سید محمد خاتمی Seyyed Moḥammad Khātamī) (born September 29, 1943, in Ardakan, Yazd Province) is an Iranian scholar and politician. , won four out of the 15 seats on the Tehran City Council, whereas in the outgoing council they had held none.
Supporters of Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Tehran's mayor and a moderate conservative moderniser, looked set to control the council with seven seats. The "Pleasant Scent of Service" - an electoral list associated with President Ahmadi-Nejad won only two seats outright, with a third seat won by a candidate associated both with Qalibaf's and Ahmadi-Nejad's lists.
Some conservatives have criticised Ahmadi-Nejad for spending too much time confronting the US and its allies and failing to deal with Iran's struggling economy.
The mixed nature of the next council may lead to a coalition between reformists and Qalibaf, a moderate conservative likely to remain mayor and use the position as a platform from which to launch a bid for the presidency in 2009. Reformists are hoping to use their victory as a platform for the next parliamentary elections in 2008.
Iran started holding municipal elections in 1999 under a reform introduced by Khatami. More than 233,000 candidates competed for more than 113,000 council seats in cities, towns and villages across the country. The FT on Dec. 22 quoted prominent journalist Akbar Montajabi as saying: "Apart from Ahmadi-Nejad's defeat, the other very important outcome is reformists' penetration into the system once again, which looked impossible before elections".
Senior reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh (سید مصطفی تاجزاده born 1956) is an Iranian progressive, reformist politician, and a member of Islamic Iran Participation Front (Jebhe-ye Mosharekat). said: "We are happy that Mr Ahmadi-Nejad, who recently said the world was becoming like him, failed to make even Tehran like him, let alone Iran and the world". The minority reformist faction in parliament, however, said in a statement that the Tehran results were fundamentally flawed and asked the interior ministry to look into allegations over missing ballot boxes and other irregularities.
Just 18 months after the landslide landslide, rapid slipping of a mass of earth or rock from a higher elevation to a lower level under the influence of gravity and water lubrication. More specifically, rockslides are the rapid downhill movement of large masses of rock with little or no hydraulic flow, election of Ahmadi-Nejad, the bloody nose he got in the Dec. 15 elections suggests Iranian politics is entering a volatile stage in which voters deliver swift verdicts on their leaders. The FT on Dec. 19 quoted a "former senior official" in Tehran as saying: "Of course the results are a strong message for the president, just as mid-term elections in the US were for Bush. It's a sign...changes need to be made and...radical policies should be revised in favour of greater pragmatism pragmatism (prăg`mətĭzəm), method of philosophy in which the truth of a proposition is measured by its correspondence with experimental results and by its practical outcome. ".
Ahmadi-Nejad stormed to the presidency in the June 2005 elections promising a fairer distribution of oil wealth to poorer Iranians, crushing Rafsanjani, a pillar of Iranian politics since the 1979 revolution. Yet on Dec. 15 moderate conservatives including allies of Rafsanjani fared well in elections for local government and for the Assembly of Experts (AoE), the body which chooses and supervises the country's supreme leader.
Rafsanjani, an ayatollah ayatollah: see Shiites.
In the Shiite branch of Islam, a high-ranking religious authority regarded by his followers as the most learned person of his age. The ayatollah's authority rests on the infallible imam. , easily topped the AoE poll in Tehran, which elects 16 members of the 86-seat body, while fundamentalist fundamentalist
An investor who selects securities to buy and sell on the basis of fundamental analysis. Compare technician. clerics sympathetic to Ahmadi-Nejad won fewer than 10 seats nationwide. In local elections, the vast majority of seats were taken by reformists, moderate conservatives, independents and fundamentalists critical of Ahmadi-Nejad.
The results indicate that an unpredictable phase in Iranian politics is opening, just as international pressure mounts, with the UN Security Council (UNSC UNSC United Nations Security Council
UNSC United Nations Space Command (gaming)
UNSC United Nations Staff College ) set to impose sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme. Rafsanjani's position is likely to be enhanced within the informal group of top officials under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which makes policy on vital international and security issues, but the extent to which that will influence Tehran's position on crucial issues is hard to gauge.
The FT quoted a "close Rafsanjani ally" as saying: "Mr Ahmadi-Nejad will no longer be speaking for 'the people' in the leadership group, and Mr Rafsanjani will be stronger - although it will take time for this to become evident". Rafsanjani has criticised Ahmadi-Nejad's handling of the nuclear issue, but immediate options for a more pragmatic approach are limited by Iran's impasse im·passe
1. A road or passage having no exit; a cul-de-sac.
2. A situation that is so difficult that no progress can be made; a deadlock or a stalemate: reached an impasse in the negotiations. with the European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community following the failure of talks in the summer.
For Iran's reformists the election results present an opportunity to use local government, especially in the big cities, to shed their past image of being overly concerned with social and political "freedom" rather than day-to-day issues. Reformists suggested that unease over the international situation and its consequences, especially for private business, had turned many voters against Ahmadi-Nejad. The FT quoted Tajzadeh, a leading official in the reformist party Mosharekat, as saying: "There is going to be a rethink at the top, and this is the real importance of the election".
Ahmadi-Nejad's decision to run his own list independent of other conservatives has been seen as illustrating a general failure to build political bridges - even to fellow fundamentalists - which has alienated al·ien·ate
tr.v. al·ien·at·ed, al·ien·at·ing, al·ien·ates
1. To cause to become unfriendly or hostile; estrange: alienate a friend; alienate potential supporters by taking extreme positions. many former allies. Ahmadi-Nejad has attempted to distance himself from the list's relatively poor performance, claiming that only the "foreign media" saw the poll as a test of his government.
Nonetheless, doubts remain about whether Ahmadi-Nejad is temperamentally tem·per·a·men·tal
1. Relating to or caused by temperament: our temperamental differences.
2. Excessively sensitive or irritable; moody.
3. capable of moderating his policies. But the FT quoted Nasser Hadian, politics professor at Tehran University and friend of the president, as saying: "I don't think it's in his personality to change course".
Nationwide results for the 86-seat AoE showed wide support for moderate conservatives, with Ayatollah Mohammad Momen Ayatollah Mohammad Momen is a Faqih (a cleric qualified to judge based on Islamic law) and a very influential member of the Guardian Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran. topping the poll in final results for the holy city of Qom. However, followers followers
see dairy herd. of the fundamentalist Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, who is the patron of Ahmadi-Nejad, won fewer than 10 seats - although Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi was himself elected in Tehran.
Moderate conservatives and reformists celebrated the capture of seats in big cities, including Tehran and Shiraz, where they were wiped out in the last elections in 2003. Ahmadi-Nejad's list won just three out of 11 seats in Isfahan, four out of 16 in Tabriz, one of 11 in Shiraz, and three of nine in Qom. In Ardabil, where Ahmadi-Nejad was governor from 1993 to 1997, his list won only one of nine seats.
The FT on Dec. 18 quoted an ally of Rafsanjani as saying: "These elections are [a] defeat for Mr Ahmadi-Nejad, if not an earthquake. The president should revise his more radical policies". The interior ministry announced a 61% turn-out for the assembly elections, and a similarly high figure was reported for the local elections.
The FT quoted Mohammad Ghouchani Mohammad Ghouchani (Persian: محمد قوچانی ) is an Iranian journalist. He graduated from University of Tehran with major in Political Science and started his career in Jam'eh Daily newspaper , a leading reformist journalist, as saying: "Generally, people have voted for pragmatism. In practice, there may not be such big differences between reformists and someone like Mr Qalibaf". The result is likely to provoke a re-examination in the conservative camp, which failed to agree a joint list.
The victory in the Dec. 15 elections was for moderate conservatives, supporters of the cleric-led power structure who are angry at Ahmadi-Nejad, saying he has needlessly provoked the West with his harsh rhetoric and has failed to address the faltering economy.
The election does not directly effect Ahmadi-Nejad's administration and is not expected to bring immediate policy changes. It selected local councils which handle community matters in cities and towns across the country. But it represented the first time the public has weighed in on Ahmadi-Nejad's stormy storm·y
adj. storm·i·er, storm·i·est
1. Subject to, characterized by, or affected by storms; tempestuous.
2. presidency since he took office in August 2005.
The results could pressure Ahmadi-Nejad to change at his tone and focus more on high unemployment and economic problems at home.
Ahmadi-Nejad has escalated Iran's nuclear dispute with the US, pushing ahead with uranium enrichment despite UN demands that Iran suspend the process. As a result, Europe has come to support Washington's calls for sanctions to stop a programme they fear aims to develop nuclear weapons, a claim Iran denies.
At the same time, Ahmadi-Nejad has angered Europe and the US by proclaiming that Israel should be "wiped off the map" and hosting a conference meant to cast doubt on whether the Nazi Holocaust Holocaust (hŏl`əkôst', hō`lə–), name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. took place. The Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest reformist party, said: "Ahmadi-Nejad's list has suffered a decisive defeat nationwide. It is a big no to the government's authoritarian and inefficient methods".
Several pro-reform clerics were barred from running for AoE seats, but conservative opponents of the president appeared to outperform Outperform
An analyst recommendation meaning a stock is expected to do slightly better than the market return.
Exact definitions vary by brokerage, but in general this rating is better than neutral and worse than buy or strong buy. his supporters. One Mesbah-Yazdi ally was defeated by a more moderate conservative cleric in the city of Qom.
Turnout in the local councils vote was more than 60% - substantially higher than the 50% in the last one, held in 2002. The moderate conservative camp - typified by Qalibaf and his supporters - emerged as a strong political force, positioned between pro-Ahmadi-Nejad hardliners and the reformists.
In their campaign, the moderate conservatives stressed promises to improve living standards living standards npl → nivel msg de vida
living standards living npl → niveau m de vie
living standards living npl , modernise Verb 1. modernise - become technologically advanced; "Many countries in Asia are now developing at a very fast pace"; "Viet Nam is modernizing rapidly"
modernize, develop the economy and promote "competency COMPETENCY, evidence. The legal fitness or ability of a witness to be heard on the trial of a cause. This term is also applied to written or other evidence which may be legally given on such trial, as, depositions, letters, account-books, and the like.
2. " in administration. Qalibaf and his supporters do not back moving closer to the US and they oppose giving up uranium enrichment, a position shared by almost all camps in Iran, where the nuclear programme is a source of national pride. But they oppose extreme stances that fuel tensions with the outside world and they have accused Ahmadi-Nejad of provoking the West.
The moderates tolerate the less restrictive social rules on mixing of sexes and women's dress, while many hardliners want to re-impose tougher restrictions. One moderate now with a seat on the council, former Tehran police chief Morteza Talaei, was popular among reformers because his officers did not crack down on the few anti-government protests which occurred at universities during Ahmadi-Nejad's presidency.
Still, the moderate conservatives criticise the reformers, accusing them of seeking to end the theocratic the·o·crat
1. A ruler of a theocracy.
2. A believer in theocracy.
the rule created after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A political analyst, Mostafa Mirzaeian, said Iran's political line-up was moving towards "a coalition between reformers and moderate conservatives, at the expense of hardline extremists who support Ahmadinejad".
The moderates' showing raised hopes for the reformers, especially since many of their candidates were barred from running by parliament committees that have the power to vet those running. Among the apparent victors in Tehran was Massoumeh Iftikhar, who served as Iran's first female vice president during the term of Khatami.
Khatami was elected in 1997 and reformers gained control of parliament soon after. But in recent years, hardliners succeeded in regaining the legislature by using cleric-run bodies to bar top reformists from running.