Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Karoubi Officially Announced Candidacy ‎

Announced at Press Conference

Although the reformists have not yet agreed on a single candidate to represent them in the ‎upcoming presidential election, yesterday former Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karoubi officially ‎announced his candidacy, only a few days after meeting with high-ranking clerics in the holy city ‎of Qom. ‎

Karoubi's press conference was held yesterday against the backdrop of varied reactions from the ‎reformists. Former president Khatami's interior minister, Mousavi Lari thought that "Karoubi and ‎Khatami's candidacy" were not connected, while Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi Khoiniha, the ‎central figure in the Majma'e Rowhaniyoon-e Mobarez [Association of Combatant Clerics], ‎described Khatami's presence as the "only way to save the nation." ‎

Sixth Majlis Speaker and current Secretary General of Etemad Melli political party, Mehdi ‎Karoubi officially announced yesterday in a press conference that he would run in the upcoming ‎presidential election in Iran. ‎

According to news agencies, responding to a question from a Fars news agency reporter, Mehdi ‎Karoubi said that his most serious opponent in the upcoming election is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ‎noting, "With respect to competing friends, up to this moment my serious opponent is Mr. ‎Ahmadinejad who is now the president and working. With respect to our own friends, meaning ‎reformist friends, I have not yet seen anyone coming forward for serious competition."‎

Commenting on the reception of his candidacy, Karoubi introduced his strategy of "silence," ‎adding, "If people say something against me and my friends I do not intend to defend myself, ‎even if newspapers write something against me, even if what they write is unfair, I intend to ‎remain fully silent." ‎

Karoubi faced reporters yesterday as he was clearly attempting to convey that his candidacy was ‎the reflection of wishes of many officials. Last week, after meetings that Karoubi held with ‎several prominent political figures, he traveled to Qom to meet with several high-ranking clerics. ‎Karoubi even said that he met with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, though he ‎added that the meeting was part of normal proceedings observed during Khatami's time as well. ‎

Secretary General of Etemad Melli party paraphrased remarks of Ayatollah Khamenei, who ‎purportedly told Karoubi, "I won't tell anyone to come, nor would I tell them not to come, but if ‎you take issues into account and know the problems, and if you receive votes, I will cooperate ‎with you as I have done in the past." ‎

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