The reformists’ movement to draft former wartime prime minister and leftist-Islamic politician Mirhossein Mousavi as their candidate in the upcoming presidential elections is out of desperation for lack of other suitable candidates, and would fail, Tehran University’s political science professor Sadeq Zibakalam tells Radio Farda. July 27, 2004 - Reformists wooed wartime prime minister and leftist politician Mirhossein Mousavi to run for presidency in the upcoming election, but according to a Tehran-based commentator, Mousavi will turn down the offer, before the conservative Guardians Council finds a chance to veto his candidacy.
“Instead of Mohammad Khatami, the reformists, who were called leftists eight years ago, wanted to draft Mirhossein Mousavi, but Mousavi did not accept, due to the country’s political climate, and now the climate is much worse,” Tehran University political science professor Sadeq Zarafshan tells Radio Farda.
“Before Guardians Council gets a chance to eliminate Mousavi from the Islamic presidential election, Mousavi will be told through other channels to pull out, and Mousavi himself will not agree to run,” Zibakalam adds.
It was Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini’s backing that kept Mousavi in power as prime minister during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and in spite of that, 90 conservatives Majles deputies voted against him, Zibakalam says. “Now those conservatives have more power, they have a ruling majority in the Majles, they have the judiciary and the Expediency Council, and therefore, they will not allow Mousavi to do anything, even if he becomes president,” he adds. “Thus, Mousavi will not become a nominee.”
Other possible reformists’ nominees have less chances of winning the elections or becoming effective presidents, Zibakalam adds. The Guardians Council would certainly reject President Khatami’s brother Mohammad-Reza Khatami, head of the Islamic Republic’s largest pro-reform party the Participation Front, and his deputy Behzad Nabavi, he says. Former Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi and leftist clerics Ali-Akbar Mohtashami and Mousavi-Khoeiniha, all from the society of militant clerics, “are perceived to be weak in executive matters,” he says.
He predicts that the reformists will not introduce an official candidate, and will mostly stay out of the presidential election, as they did during last February’s Majles elections, which brought a conservative majority to the Majles after disqualification, by the Guardians Council, of thousands of reformist candidacy applicants.