Friday, April 24, 2009

Rezai in the Ring

A new candidate has entered Iran's presidential election:
"A hard-line politician and former head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezai, announced Wednesday that he would enter the presidential race, indicating additional splintering among the country’s conservatives.

"Mr. Rezai, who oversaw the Revolutionary Guards from 1981 to 1997, had been seeking to unite conservative politicians behind another candidate to compete against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But he decided instead to become a candidate himself in the presidential election, to be held June 12, Iranian news media reported.

"Mr. Rezai, who has accused Mr. Ahmadinejad of mismanaging the economy, will run as an independent candidate, the ISNA news agency reported.

"His candidacy underscores the political fragmenting of a conservative faction known as the Principlists, which threw its support behind Mr. Ahmadinejad when he ran for president in 2004. Some leading figures who supported Mr. Ahmadinejad then have not publicly backed him this time."

I've mentioned before that a simple conservative/reformist split is an inadequate lens for understanding Iranian politics. The principlists, however, do form a recognizable faction the potential division of which is noteworthy.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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