HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ahmadinejad opponent leads clerical race

TEHRAN, Iran - A former Iranian leader who is considered an opponent of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was far ahead in the race for a seat on a powerful clerical body, according to partial election results reported by state-run television Sunday.

Hashemi Rafsanjani had more than 1.5 million votes for a seat in the Assembly of Experts, a body of 86 senior clerics that monitors
Iran's supreme leader and chooses his successor, state TV said. His main rival, Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, had about 860,000 votes.

The TV station did not report the percentage of votes each candidate received in Friday's election. Final results were not expected until Monday or later.

A victory for Rafsanjani would be seen as a political setback for Ahmadinejad, who defeated the more moderate former leader in last year's presidential elections. Yazdi, Rafsanjani's challenger, is widely considered Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor.

Rafsanjani, who served as president of Iran from 1989 and 1997, is among nine people wanted in Argentina in connection with a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires that killed about 85 people and injured more than 200. On Dec. 1, an Argentine court declared Rafsanjani and the others fugitives from justice for failing to respond to arrest warrants issued in November.

Iran has denied any involvement in the bombing and said it does not recognize the validity of the arrest warrants.

Friday's elections for the assembly and for local councils are considered a test of popular support for Ahmadinejad, whose anti-
Israel rhetoric and tough stand on Iran's nuclear program are believed to have divided Iran's conservatives. Some opponents feel Ahmadinejad has spent too much time confronting the West and failed to find ways to help Iran's struggling economy.

Ahmadinejad's opponents were also leading in local council elections, according to unofficial results reported by Tehran newspapers and semiofficial news agencies. The unofficial results showed no single party would be able to claim outright victory in the local elections.

More than 233,000 candidates ran for more than 113,000 council seats in cities, towns and villages on Friday. Local councils elect the mayor and approve community budgets and planning projects. About 180 candidates around the country ran for the Assembly of Experts.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org