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Conservative challenger
Former TV chief launches unofficial campaign for presidency

November 19, 2004
iranian.com

I guess the Iran presidential election would eventually come down to a dirty fight between former president Akbar Rafsanjani and former head of state radio and TV (IRIB), Ali Larijani.

But Larijani, very close advisor to the Supreme Leader, is not very well-known in the West, despite his crucial position among young conservative politicians in Iran. He is known to be one of their greatest strategists who has been leading the gradual but very effective crackdown on the entire reform movement. He has a PhD in philosophy and before he headed the IRIB for the past ten years, he was a top officer in the Revolutionary Guards.

In a clear sign of his ambitions for the upcoming presidential election, he started a daily column based on his diary, in Jaam-e Jam, the most popular newspaper which is run by the IRIB and founded by Larijani himself during the second half of his term. (A close friend of his, Ezzat Zarghami, now runs the IRIB, while Larijani has no position in the administration, probably to prepare for his campaign).

Reading the first parts of the diary, which talks about the process of him being appointed by Khamanei as the head of IRIB, it strikes me as nothing but an official launch of his run for president. His puts strong emphasis on personal ties with the Supreme Leader, his great respect for his wife and family, and his skills and interests as a university professor who teaches Philosophy of Science in Tehran University. (He even mentions the English names of the articles he is reading to prepare himself for the next lecture.)

It's a lot of fun reading Larijani's diary because of his particular stiff and cold tone, even when he writes about emotional things, but and it's also very revealing in terms of behind-the-scenes incidents.

To me it looks like a blog, written -- possibly -- ten years ago, and published now, with a personal point-of-view and interesting details about the life of one of the brightest stars of the conservative camp who I guess is the ultimate hope of the Supreme Leader to lead the country for the next eight years.

Strange that no one has picked it up yet in the press.

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