Expert: If Rafsanjani participates, he could have upper hand at Iranian presidential elections

Iran Materials 1 May 2013 15:39 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 1 /Trend S.Isayev/

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani could have the upper hand, if he decides to participate at the upcoming presidential elections in Iran, Senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, James M. Dorsey told Trend.

Iranian Interior ministry announced that the country will hold the 11th presidential election on June 14, 2013.

The voters will select the successor of the current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is not able to participate in the elections for the third term according to the country's constitutional laws.

The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election and the Guardian Council vets the candidates for qualifications.

Dorsey, who recently visited Iran, spoke about the chances of former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Rafsanjani at the elections, if they decide to participate.

"If Khatami runs again for office, he would have an edge. However, the problem is that Khatami did not prove himself to be effective while he was in the office," Dorsey believes.

Speaking of Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, Dorsey said that he is widely viewed as having benefitted commercially from the system.

"Rafsanjabi is a pragmatist. Nevertheless, if either or both put themselves forward, I would tend to think that Rafsanjani could have the upper hand," the expert said.

Rafsanjani has recently said that he may run for president at the upcoming elections. He said at a press conference that he would form a multi-party cabinet if elected.

The former president, who is currently the chairman of the Expediency Council, stated that he would also take measures to reform the Islamic Republic's domestic and foreign policies.

Rafsanjani served as Iran's president from 1989 to 1997. In 2005, he ran for a third term in office, but he ultimately lost the race to his rival Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mohammad Khatami has not yet officially stated that he would be participating at the elections. Khatami is a reformist politician. He served as the fifth President of Iran from 2 August 1997 to 3 August 2005.

Speaking about the issues that the newly elected president of Iran would have to deal with, James Dorsey noted that it would depend on where the new president starts.

"The question facing the new president will be is where does he start. The nuclear issue is the key to a weakening of the sanctions which is the key to tackling the economic crisis which is the key to addressing some issues fuelling discontent," Dorsey said.