A constitutional body in Iran has ruled that women cannot run in presidential elections scheduled for 14 June. Mohammad Yazdi, a clerical member of the Guardian Council, said the constitution ruled out the participation of women.
Thirty women registered as candidates but there had been little expectation they would be allowed to stand. The Guardian Council is charged with vetting election candidates according to their Islamic credentials.
Observers say there is ambiguity in the constitution about the participation of women in presidential elections in Iran.
However, the latest interpretation appears to put an end to the debate. The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Mr Yazdi as saying that the “law does not approve” of a woman in the presidency and a woman on the ballot is “not allowed”.
Iranian ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has registered for June’s presidential election, a few minutes before an official deadline. Correspondents say Mr Rafsanjani, 78, is virtually assured the support of reformers and could pose a real challenge to the country’s conservative leadership.
Constitutionally, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot stand again. But his choice of candidate registered minutes before Mr Rafsanjani.
Hardline nationalist Esfandyar Rahim-Mashaei, a close friend of Mr Ahmadinjed, is also seen as a threat to the clerical elite around Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, has also registered. He is seen as close to Ayatollah Khamenei.
More than 400 candidates in total have registered but Iran’s Guardian Council – a body controlled by the supreme leader – decides who can stand.
New candidates entered Iran’s presidential race on Saturday on opposite sides of the divide between loyal defenders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and opponents accused of threatening to undermine him.
Amid intense speculation on the final day of registration, two former presidents kept Iranians guessing on whether they would join the contest to succeed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has long been at odds with Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad’s former press adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr became the first high-profile member of the president’s entourage to enter the fray. Javanfekr was sent to prison last year for publishing an article about Islamic dress that was deemed offensive to public decency, in a ruling that Ahmadinejad called unjust.
Early on Saturday, Iranian media reported the registration of the charismatic mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a member of a three-man coalition of “Principlists” – loyal defenders of Khamenei and the theocratic system who are, by implication, hostile to Ahmadinejad.
Iranian election authorities say several high-profile politicians, including reformists and allies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the outgoing president, have registered for presidential elections to be held on June 14.
Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Tehran’s mayor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, an Ahmadinejad adviser, and Davood Ahmadinejad, the president’s elder brother, are among hundreds who have joined the race ahead of Saturday’s registration deadline.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and pro-reform activists Ebrahim Asgharzadeh and Javad Eta’at have also signed up.
The campaign is taking shape as open season on Ahmadinejad’s legacy and his combative style that bolstered his stature among supporters but alarmed critics.
Ahmadinejad is barred by law from seeking a third term due to term limits under Iran’s constitution.
The 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is the largest bomb in the U.S. arsenal, and its new design is tailored specifically for striking Iran’s Fordow nuclear enrichment complex. Fordow, buried about 300 feet beneath a mountain near the city of Qom, is believed to contain more than 2,700 centrifuges enriching uranium. Adam Entous and Julian Barnes at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that not only has the MOP been refined for an Iranian strike, but it’s also being used to assure Israel the U.S. can keep Tehran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.
Several times in recent weeks, American officials, seeking to demonstrate U.S. capabilities, showed Israeli military and civilian leaders secret Air Force video of an earlier version of the bomb hitting its target in high-altitude testing, and explained what had been done to improve it, according to diplomats who were present.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has reportedly reassured Israel about the ongoing threats to attack Iran militarily, saying that they will start seriously considering it again after Iran’s June 14 elections.The election will choose a replacement for outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the US and Israel have scheduled a “joint assessment” for after the result is announced to decide how it impacts the ongoing threats to attack them.
Bizarre, to say the least, because Iran’s president has limited power over the nation’s civilian nuclear program, and even less on the P5+1 negotiations. Rather, while Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is often cited as an excuse for war, his actual ability to implement changes in Iranian policy is comparatively minimal.
Ahmadinejad is perceived as on the outs with the ruling clergy in Iran at any rate, and the fact that he survived to the end of his term is a bit of a surprise as well. His hand-picked successor, Esfiander Mashei, hasn’t been confirmed as a candidate yet, and has been accused of religious deviancy. A more religiously hardline candidate is expected to be the Ayatollahs’ preferred choice, though a front-runner hasn’t been named yet. It isn’t clear then what this new “assessment” will focus on, since literally nothing will change about the program no matter who wins the election. Rather, the comments may be seen as the Obama Administration trying to put off the Netanyahu government’s incessant calls for military action.
The offer was made by Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi during his talks with visiting external affairs minister Salman Khurshid at the India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting where energy was a subject of cooperation.
India has in the year to March 31 cut import of oil from Iran by 26.5 per cent as US and European sanctions made it difficult to ship oil from the Persian Gulf nation.
Iran traditionally offers only service contract to foreign companies, giving them a pre-fixed rate of fee for their effort in exploring and producing oil.
In contrast, a production sharing contract will give the foreign country ownership of the oil explored and produced as also the freedom to ship it wherever they want.