AP: A former commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards has been appointed to oversee crucial parliamentary elections scheduled for March, state television reported Saturday. The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – A former commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards has been appointed to oversee crucial parliamentary elections scheduled for March, state television reported Saturday.
Ali Reza Afshar, who was a top Guards commander for years before being appointed armed forces spokesman and then deputy interior minister for political affairs in August, is widely seen as allied to the country’s conservatives.
The appointment comes three months after Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati and three other arch-conservatives were appointed as members of the panel monitoring legislative elections, raising fears of foul play in a key vote that could determine the shape of the upcoming presidential vote as well.
Their nomination by Iran’s constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, sparked fears rerun on 2004 when large numbers of reformist candidates were disqualified.
The committee of four will oversee the elections through thousands of monitors across the country.
Afshar’s appointment is widely seen as an attempt by hard-line clerics to cling to power by controlling the elections and preventing reformists from retaking control of the parliament.
The conservative Guardian Council barred thousands of reformist hopefuls from running in the 2004 elections, leading to a low turnout and resulting in a hardliner control of the legislature. Reformists denounced that vote as a “historical fiasco.”
Iran will start registering hopefuls for the upcoming legislative elections on Jan. 3 for a week.