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Friday, June 18, 2021

Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief registers presidential run

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The hard-line cleric accountable for Iran’s judiciary who additionally took half in a panel concerned within the mass execution of 1000’s of prisoners in 1988 registered Saturday to run towards for the nation’s presidency.

Ebrahim Raisi has been named as a potential successor to Iran’s 82-year-old Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, main some to counsel he wouldn’t run within the race. Nonetheless, his registration reveals he nonetheless has curiosity within the workplace he did not acquire in 2017.

His shut ties to Khamenei and recognition partly from his televised anti-corruption marketing campaign may make him a favourite in an election by which analysts already consider that hard-liners take pleasure in an edge.

Activists, nonetheless, maintain a far totally different view of Raisi over his involvement within the 1988 mass execution of prisoners on the finish of Iran’s lengthy warfare with Iraq. After Iran’s then-Supreme Chief Ruhollah Khomeini accepted a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, closely armed by Saddam Hussein, stormed throughout the Iranian border in a shock assault.

Iran in the end blunted their assault, however the assault set the stage for the sham retrials of political prisoners, militants and others that might develop into referred to as “dying commissions.” Some who appeared have been requested to establish themselves. Those that responded “mujahedeen” have been despatched to their deaths, whereas others have been questioned about their willingness to “clear minefields for the military of the Islamic Republic,” in keeping with a 1990 Amnesty Worldwide report.

Worldwide rights teams estimate that as many as 5,000 folks have been executed, whereas the MEK places the quantity at 30,000. Iran has by no means totally acknowledged the executions, apparently carried out on Khomeini’s orders, although some argue that different prime officers have been successfully in cost within the months earlier than his 1989 dying. Raisi reportedly served on a panel concerned in sentencing the prisoners to dying.

In 2016, members of the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri’s household put out an audio recording of him criticizing the executions as “the largest crime within the historical past of the Islamic Republic.”

Raisi has by no means publicly acknowledged his position within the executions, even whereas campaigning for president in 2017. He in the end misplaced to Rouhani, although he nonetheless garnered almost 16 million votes in his marketing campaign. Khamenei appointed him as head of the judiciary in 2019.

In 2016, Khamenei appointed Raisi to run the Imam Reza charity basis, which manages an enormous conglomerate of companies and endowments in Iran. It’s one in every of many bonyads, or charitable foundations, fueled by donations or belongings seized after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

These foundations supply no public accounting of their spending and reply solely to Iran’s supreme chief. The Imam Reza charity, referred to as “Astan-e Quds-e Razavi” in Farsi, is believed to be one of many greatest within the nation. Analysts estimate its value at tens of billions of {dollars} because it owns virtually half the land in Mashhad, Iran’s second-largest metropolis.

At Raisi’s appointment to the muse in 2016, Khamenei known as him a “reliable particular person with high-profile expertise.” That led to analyst hypothesis that Khamenei might be grooming Raisi as a potential candidate to be Iran’s third-ever supreme chief, a Shiite cleric who has last say on all state issues and serves because the nation’s commander-in-chief.

Inside Iran, candidates exist on a political spectrum that broadly consists of hard-liners who wish to broaden Iran’s nuclear program, moderates who maintain onto the established order, and reformists who wish to change the theocracy from inside.

These calling for radical change discover themselves blocked from even operating for workplace by the Guardian Council, a 12-member panel that vets and approves candidates underneath Khamenei’s watch.

Different candidates who registered Saturday embrace Ali Larijani, a distinguished conservative voice and former parliament speaker who later allied himself with Rouhani.

A transparent candidate has but to emerge throughout the reformists. Some have talked about Overseas Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, although he later mentioned he would not run after a scandal over a leaked recording by which he provided frank criticism of the Guard and the bounds of the civilian authorities’s energy.

On the similar time Larijani registered, so too did Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, the eldest son of the late former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani, a member of Tehran’s metropolis council, has been described as a reformist by political commentators.

A number of different candidates have distinguished backgrounds within the Guard, a paramilitary drive answerable solely to Khamenei. Laborious-liners have more and more recommended a former army commander ought to be president given the nation’s issues, one thing that hasn’t occurred since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and the purge of the armed forces that adopted.

Iran’s former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad additionally registered Wednesday. Although his try to run in 2017 in the end was blocked after Khamenei criticized Ahmadinejad, this 12 months the supreme chief has not warned him off.

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