NewsSpecial WireIran: Rafsanjani’s aides show signs of despair

Iran: Rafsanjani’s aides show signs of despair

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jun. 24 – Members of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s campaign team were spotted in several cities in western Iran, including Nahavand and Kermanshah, offering cash for votes. The current rate is 30,000 Rials per vote in the second round of the presidential election. The former President’s cash offers and eleventh-hour drive to win votes reflect growing anxiety among his top aides that the 70-year-old cleric is losing to Tehran’s ultra-conservative mayor. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jun. 24 – Members of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s campaign team were spotted in several cities in western Iran, including Nahavand and Kermanshah, offering cash for votes. The current rate is 30,000 Rials per vote in the second round of the presidential election.

The former President’s cash offers and eleventh-hour drive to win votes reflect growing anxiety among his top aides that the 70-year-old cleric is losing to Tehran’s ultra-conservative mayor.

“Rafsanjani’s team has been investing in one single message over the past week: vote for him if you don’t want to end up with a lunatic Islamist in the presidential office,” Hadi Roshan, a veteran analyst of Iranian affairs said in a telephone interview from his home near Paris.

“Rafsanjani’s only hope would be to scare enough middle class and young voters to overcome the efficient organization that his rival possesses”, he said. “Reports from many parts of Tehran and other provincial cities that turnout is low is very bad news for Rafsanjani”.

Rafsanjani’s senior aides are complaining that the Supreme Leader has given his full backing to Ahmadinejad, placing the huge resources and organization of the Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary Bassij, the Friday prayers leaders’ network and the Islamic Propaganda Organization at his disposal.

“The Ministry of Education has even issued circulars ordering all its employees not to vote for Hashemi Rafsanjani”, a source in the former President’s campaign said. The Ministry of Education is one of the largest state employers in Iran.

Rafsanjani’s campaign chairman in the north-eastern city of Mashad complained that local Revolutionary Guards commanders were bullying people to vote for Ahmadinejad.

But turnout remains the crucial element in determining which of the two candidates wins. Reports from independent monitors across the country indicated that turnout was lower than that in the first round of the elections last week.

“Most of our polling centres reported by late afternoon that turnout has been very low”, chairman of the State Election Board in the western province of Hamedan said. “People decided not to vote this time”.

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