Rouhani Warns of Undermining Presidential Powers in Iran

Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seen at a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the members of the Assembly of Experts. (Supreme Leader's website)
Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seen at a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the members of the Assembly of Experts. (Supreme Leader's website)
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Rouhani Warns of Undermining Presidential Powers in Iran

Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seen at a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the members of the Assembly of Experts. (Supreme Leader's website)
Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seen at a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the members of the Assembly of Experts. (Supreme Leader's website)

Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani strongly criticized the Iranian electoral body for disqualifying him from running in the Assembly of Experts elections that were held in March, describing the move as a threat to the country’s political system, particularly the presidency.

Rouhani has repeatedly asked for explanations from the Guardian Council, the body overseeing Iranian elections.

His disqualification was unexpected and came during elections aimed at selecting influential clerics for the Assembly of Experts, who would potentially choose the next Supreme Leader.

Rouhani’s recent political rejection raised eyebrows in political circles, considering his extensive track record.

Having served as President for eight years (2013-2021) and previously holding key positions like Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for 16 years under reformist leaders, Rouhani seemed like a formidable candidate.

Additionally, his 24-year stint in the Assembly of Experts added weight to his credentials.

On Monday, Rouhani revealed details of a “confidential” letter from Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardian Council, explaining the reasons for his disqualification.

The Council, a key institution under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, holds significant sway, with half its members directly chosen by him and the others indirectly selected.

According to a statement on Rouhani’s official website, the Guardian Council responded after he sent four letters asking why he was rejected and three more requesting supporting documents.

Rouhani briefly mentioned the points from the Guardian Council’s letter, indicating he was accused of “disrespecting the judiciary and the Council”, “lacking knowledge and political vision”, “not following the constitution”, “challenging religious beliefs”, and being “untrustworthy”.

However, Rouhani provided a detailed response exceeding 5,000 words, defending himself. He said it “was not just a personal defense, but a defense of the republic and the system,” and that he would not stay silent against this injustice.

He warned that future presidents could lose political freedom if they face similar charges.

Rouhani explained that his criticism of being accused of lacking political vision was due to his government’s openness to the West, particularly regarding the 2015 nuclear deal negotiations.

He said the Guardian Council’s message unfairly judged the deal and Iran’s foreign and regional policies.

He defended the nuclear deal with major powers as a symbol of domestic moderation and constructive global engagement.

He blamed both the parliament and the Guardian Council for blocking his government’s efforts to revive the deal. He urged the Council to read the nuclear deal thoroughly, noting that its implementation involved various government bodies.

Moreover, Rouhani rejected claims that his government had neglected foreign policy, citing improved ties with Russia and China.

He questioned the basis for judging his political vision, emphasizing widespread support among Iranians.

Rouhani’s failed bid for membership in the Assembly of Experts was his latest attempt to maintain influence since leaving office in August 2021.



UK’s Nigel Farage Says the West Provoked Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

 Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
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UK’s Nigel Farage Says the West Provoked Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

 Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)

Nigel Farage, the leader of Britain's right-wing Reform UK party, said the eastward of expansion of the European Union and NATO had provoked Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The remarks, made in an interview with the BBC aired late on Friday, drew strong criticism across the British political spectrum ahead of a July 4 election in which Farage's party is predicted to win millions of votes.

Farage said he stood by comments made shortly after Moscow's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, when he posted on social media that the move was a "consequence of EU and NATO expansion". He said he had been predicting a war in Ukraine as early as 2014.

"It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, 'They're coming for us again' and to go to war," Farage said in Friday's BBC interview.

"We provoked this war ... of course it's his (Putin's) fault - he's used what we've done as an excuse."

Russia casts its special military operation in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West reject this and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Farage's decades of campaigning against Britain's membership of the EU and mass immigration has made him one of the country's most recognizable and divisive politicians.

His surprise entry into the election race has further hit Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's hopes of closing the center-left Labour Party's opinion poll lead.

Even though Reform is unlikely to win many seats in parliament, it could split the right-of-center vote across the country. The party held only one seat in the last parliament, which it gained when a Conservative lawmaker defected.

Farage's remarks on Ukraine drew immediate condemnation.

Sunak said Farage was "completely wrong", accusing him of appeasement that put Britain and its allies' security at risk. Labour's defense spokesman John Healey called Farage's comments disgraceful and labelled him a "Putin apologist".

Farage later posted on X: "Putin was wrong to invade a sovereign nation, and the EU was wrong to expand eastward. The sooner we realize this, the closer we will be to ending the war and delivering peace."