Hassan Rohani

A senior member of Iran’s Expediency Council says Iran’s national elections should accommodate the presence of all parties and not just a particular one.

ILNA reports that Hassan Rohani, head of strategic research of the Expediency Council said: “When we prepare the elections, we must act in a manner that would guarantee the presence of all the people and not to restrict the elections to the presence of one particular party.”

The senior Iranian cleric, who spoke in the context of recent debates about the presence of reformists in the next parliamentary elections, maintained that there must be legal criteria that determine the eligibility of candidates and others should not then propose their own conditions on top of the law.

The re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is backed by the Islamic Republic hardliners, was challenged by the reformist candidates who claim the ballot was rigged and people’s votes disregarded. The establishment denied the allegations and responded to protests with extreme violence and widespread arrests and imprisonments.

Recently Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s former president told the reformist MPs that only if the establishment releases all political prisoners and assures open and healthy elections could the reformists participate in the next elections.

The Chairman of the Guardian Council, hardliner Ahmad Jannati responded to Khatami saying the reformists should get out of the political arena once and for all.

The role of the Guardian Council in the elections has been continuously criticized by the reformists. The Guardian Council oversees the election process and also determines the final eligibility of candidates.

Hassan Rohani maintained that any approach that restricts the presence of people in the elections would have adverse national outcomes.

In addition to his role in the Expediency Council, Hassan Rohani is a member of Iran’s National Security Supreme Council.