Without Hashemei and Mashaei

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

Published: Updated:

The upcoming presidential election is important even if Iranians are disappointed after the disqualification of two leading major candidates: Hashemi Rafsanjani and Rahim Mashaie.

Both were registered at very much the same time and both were disqualified by the Guardian Council together.

The excitement was like a breath of fresh air when both registered for candidacy. This excitement is now replaced with deep frustration and disappointment.

None of the eight approved qualified candidates would represent the current government, not even the reformists. Four of them representing the supreme leader’s spectrum and another four are like the fillers whom qualified to make the scene busy and are safe as unharmed useless matches.

Not even a supporting letter from late Ayatollah Khomenie’s daughter, Ms. Zahra Mostafavi, or backing from the whole seminary of Qom, or even Ahmadinejad pleads to the supreme leader helped Rahim Mashaei get to the presidential race.

The hopes for reform

Time goes on and the official campaigns for the candidates began on Saturday. Hope for Ayatollah Khamenei’s interference is over.

All speculations now question is the favored conservative candidate and the most talked about person: Saeed Jalili, the head of National Security Council and also head of the nuclear negations team.

Jalili in his TV appearance on state channel on Saturday evening indicated that, ‘in the lack of sufficient and strong candidates, he decide to run in the election,’ implying he believes he is the best among the other three conservative candidates.

If the next president is one of the same clan, all hopes will turn into ashes.

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

His first TV interview since being chosen for candidacy view didn’t wow anyone and instead of being convincing and energetic, the public finds Jalili to be a very twisted person who don’t have anything to put on the table other than saying, “the next president should be totally obedient to the supreme leader.”

In comparison, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the current mayor of Tehran may seem more charming and talkative. Ghalibaf, a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, is one of the most ambitious candidates in this race but with the entry of Saeed Jalili, the scale is shifting to Jalili’s side. Saeed Jalili maybe hasn’t charmed the public yet but he has charmed the supreme leader and his people enough to lead the failed nuclear negotiations with the Western countries for years, which have made the country look like what it is today; bankrupt!

If Saeed Jalili’s unsuccessful international performance hasn’t been questioned or criticized, it means the supreme leader and the revolutionary guards are happy with the result.

There was so much hope among the public, and perhaps the international community, about this election but it turned out to be not so promising. The sanctions and high inflation, unemployment and costly living make life a living hell for many families in Iran. Iranians were hoping the elections and a new, moderate president in office would help ease the pressure caused by international sanctions and normalize relations with the U.S.

Now, with these candidates and their visions, all these hopes are like a mirage. These candidates are the supreme leader’s men, not the candidates that the people wished seeing in the race and it’s very obvious which groups of people will boycott the election.

There are a fixed number of regime supporters, who traditionally vote at any election, and at this point the number is big enough for Khamenei to send the next president to the presidential office and claim a big victory.

The international community and Iran’s Arab neighbors are all watching the election up-close with great interest and anxiety. Anxiety, because many things have been postponed after the election in Iran; from solving the nuclear situation to the conflict in Syria, as well as other regional and international matters. The expectation was, the next president might convince the supreme leader and other hardliners to put an end to the nuclear scandals and, in return, work towards the removal of the sanctions and avoid a possible confrontation.

If the next president is one of the same clan, all hopes will turn into ashes. But we shouldn’t forget that the history of Iran shows that the nation is full of surprises and hope may still rise before the election, like a slim flame rising from these ashes.

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.