Tehran, Iran, May 16
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri, an outstanding conservative Iranian politician, along with a number of government ministers recently met reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami to receive his favorable opinion on keeping Ali Larijani as the Parliament speaker as a new parliamentary term is about to begin.
Despite their request, Khatami insisted on his endorsement of reform-minded Mohammad Reza Aref, according to Ali Sufi, ex-minister of cooperative in the Khatami administration, ILNA news agency reported May 16.
Aref will be the official representative of the Supreme Reform Policy-Making Council for the speakership of the next parliament, Sufi announced.
He added that Expediency Council chief Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also supports the reform representative and has already held meetings with conservative President Hassan Rouhani to acquire the favorable regards of government-supporters.
Larijani has been speaker for the past two terms, but now faces the ex-vice president Aref as a great rival. Aref served as the first vice president during the second Khatami administration.
In the meantime, some analysts believe that for Aref to run for the speaker will entail great risks, including "great dispersion and disunion" if he fails, according to prominent reformist journalist Abbas Abdi.
This, he believes, will weaken the leadership of the reform front in the parliament.
Meanwhile, Aref himself has said, "I personally do not have the right to disregard people's request and will surely act upon the demand of the majority of the society that sought a change in the parliament."
The next parliament term will begin on May 27.