Rouhani, Larijani Await 'Positive Signs' to Enter Election Race

Former President Hassan Rouhani and his ally, former Speaker Ali Larijani, during an event in Tehran (Jamaran)
Former President Hassan Rouhani and his ally, former Speaker Ali Larijani, during an event in Tehran (Jamaran)
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Rouhani, Larijani Await 'Positive Signs' to Enter Election Race

Former President Hassan Rouhani and his ally, former Speaker Ali Larijani, during an event in Tehran (Jamaran)
Former President Hassan Rouhani and his ally, former Speaker Ali Larijani, during an event in Tehran (Jamaran)

Reformist sources have revealed that former President Hassan Rouhani and his ally, former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, are eagerly awaiting "positive indications" from the authorities to actively participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for February.

Larijani and Rouhani, both affiliated with the moderate conservative movement, are looking to reestablish their alliance with the "reformist movement" to return to the forefront of the political scene.

The reformist news website "Insaaf News" reported that prominent figures within the moderate faction will kick off election activities if they perceive positive signs from the authorities.

According to the sources, Rouhani and Larijani are expected to take on prominent roles in the upcoming parliamentary elections. They plan to present a joint electoral list, contingent upon the fulfillment of "honorable and legal" participation conditions.

The sources said the list will be supported by former reformist President Mohammed Khatami, his ally Hasan Khomeini, the grandson of the late Supreme Leader Khomeini, and Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri, close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

They believe that Khatami and Nategh-Nouri can help the two currents and encourage their supporters to participate in the elections "if the right conditions are met."

Ensaf News reported that Hasan Khomeini is "a central figure among the moderates" and can influence political and social events in the country.

However, a close source said that the issues raised about the electoral activities of Rouhani and Larijani are more like "speculations and analysis."

The website indicated that some members of the five figures' teams are skeptical about the recent developments, fearing they would engage in electoral activities without providing the requirements for participation.

However, the Ensaf website expected a "moderate electoral coalition" would be welcomed by the "conservative coalition" that controls the government and most parliamentary seats because their political activities will not stand out without rivals.

Rouhani lived semi-isolation after his presidential term ended, especially since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei did not appoint him to the Expediency Discernment Council, as he did with former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

- Elections

Last April, Rouhani called for holding free elections and a referendum on foreign and domestic policy and economic management.

Larijani's role in the Iranian political arena has been restricted after he was removed from the presidential elections following a decision of the Guardian Council.

Aside from the parliamentary elections, Iran will witness the polls for the Assembly of Experts for Leadership, which includes 88 influential clerics who name the successor to the current Supreme Leader if he cannot carry out his duties.

The Assembly of Experts elections are also important and sensitive. The past elections sparked controversy after Hassan Khomeini was removed from the list of candidates for not meeting the conditions.

Rouhani, Hassan Khomeini, and Nategh-Nouri could be on the list of candidates, knowing that Khomeini's grandson is one of the primary candidates to succeed Khamenei.

The upcoming legislative elections come after the widespread popular protests that the authorities accused the Western powers of "supporting" in the wake of the death of the young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, last September.

- Confirmation of participation

Khamenei rejected requests for a referendum on the fate of the origin of the ruling establishment to overcome the current structure and establish a secular system of elections, and decide on the eligibility of candidates.

In one of his speeches last April, the Supreme Leader urged senior officials to define strategies for participation, competition, security, and integrity in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Guardian Council then announced that it had started setting up procedures for the upcoming February elections.

Recently, the Minister of the Interior, Ahmed Vahidi, issued instructions to the governors of the provinces to reduce communication and cooperation with lawmakers.

Vahidi's decision sparked controversy, and more than 200 lawmakers tabled a motion to impeach him. But Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said that the Minister requested a two-week postponement.

President Ebrahim Raisi said that the government, as the executive of the elections, will not interfere in the affairs of the candidates and in supporting or creating restrictions for them.

The Iranian presidency website quoted Raisi saying at the Sunday cabinet meeting that holding healthy, competitive, and high-participation elections promotes national security and public trust.

- Reform movement

The reformist parties affiliated with the "Reform Front" nominated the activist Azar Mansouri as its head, according to the Etemad Online website.

Mansouri, 59, who has close ties to former President Mohammad Khatami, will succeed the reform activist Behzad Nabavi, who held the post for two years.

Mansouri was among the reformist activists arrested after the Green Movement protests that hit the country after the reformists questioned the 2009 presidential elections after Ahmadinejad won a second term.



Russian Passenger Jet Crashes Flying Empty Crashes Near Moscow, Killing its Crew of 3

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 went down in the Moscow region, according to Russian emergency officials. - The AP
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 went down in the Moscow region, according to Russian emergency officials. - The AP
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Russian Passenger Jet Crashes Flying Empty Crashes Near Moscow, Killing its Crew of 3

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 went down in the Moscow region, according to Russian emergency officials. - The AP
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 went down in the Moscow region, according to Russian emergency officials. - The AP

A Russian passenger jet crashed Friday while flying without passengers, killing its crew of three, officials said.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 went down in the Moscow region, according to Russian emergency officials.

The authorities said the plane belonged to Gazprom Avia, a carrier owned by the Russian state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom.

They said the plane took off from an aircraft-making plant at Lukhovitsy 110 kilometers (68 miles) southeast of the Russian capital where it had undergone repairs. It was heading to Moscow's Vnukovo airport when it crashed.

The Investigative Committee, the country's top state criminal investigation agency, has launched a probe into the crash.

A Sukhoi Superjet crashed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in May 2019, killing 41. It was struck by lightning and made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff. The probe blamed the pilot, concluding that he landed the plane heavy with unburned fuel at excessive speed, resulting in a rough touchdown that sparked a fire.