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The Iranian


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Sprint Long Distance


Sehaty Foreign Exchange


August 29, 2000

Rafsanjani, no (fair) chance

I think you are mistaken in your assumptions about Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ["Man in the shadows"]. I doubt, if by the time of the next presidential elections in a years time, Rafsanjani can win a fair and free election against Khatami, given the present images of the candidates in the public mind.

The reason the press law was stopped dead in its track in the Majlis, and all the other crackdown on the hitherto accepted opposition, is because the establishment is worried about its own future, and has serious doubts about the wisdom of recent experiments with liberalization.

I agree that Khatami has lost some of his popularity, because of his inability to deliver all that he promised both politically and economically, and also the fear in the more conservative elements of his support that as result of his dabbling with dangerous liberal ideas he may inadvertently bring about radical irreversible changes which ironically is the reason for his support from the disgruntled silent majority.

Now, if he were to stand against somebody like Abdollah Nouri or Mohsen Kadivar, that might be a different matter, and he might even lose. But no such chance exists against the candidates of the conservative right like Ali Akbar Velayati or Ahmad Janati or Rafsanjani.

I agree that in the next presidential election Rafsanjani may be "declared" as the winner. The real question is whether the establishment will be able to go back to the pre-Khatami status and still resolve their own internal differences and be able to mobilize public support for themselves ?

This really begs the question as to the reason why Khatami was allowed to stand and win the election in the first place and whether with the Khatami presidential experience behind them Rafsanjani and Khamenii can settle their differences and share power?

Whatever happens, one thing is certain in people's mind, and that is the fact that electoral results mean very little in Iran.This feeling will further encourage cynicism, frustration, and indifference and will be the ingredients for the gale-force storm predicted by Anthony Friedman of The New York Times and others.

Behzad Djazaeri
M.ch , F.R.C.S


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