[BBC Persian report focuses on disqualification of Ahmadinejad and Baghai. Ahmadinejad’s Possible reactions are suggested. Also, Ahmadinejad’s complicated relationship with the establishment are highlighted as well.]
NARRATOR says: Deployment of the law enforcement in public passageways of the capital [Tehran] shows that Iranian regime is very good at toughening its measures, even though Mr. Ahmadinejad and his assistance have always emphasized that no one should expect them to take to streets and protest.
REPORTER asks: After disqualification, do you have the power to mobilize people?
MASHAI says: Power to mobilize people for what?
REPORTER explains: To make a protest against [the disqualtification] …
MASHAI responds: Your question is very bad. You should create peace in the society.
NARRATOR continues: Nevertheless, everyone is waiting to see the reaction of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his friends [to disqualification]. There is no news in Mr. Ahmadinejad’s English Twitter. The last Twitter is about the U.S. attack against ISIL in Afghanistan. But today’s statement of one of his advisors can portray a good picture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s team.
Ali Akbar Javanfekr has written: “Dr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Baghai nominated for the 12th presidential election to act upon their revolutionary, national and religious duties. With its decision, the Guardian Council removed this duty from their shoulders. Thank God for that.”
NARRATOR explains about passive-aggressive behaviors in Iran: Such behaviors are not new in the Islamic Republic. After the war with Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini had said that “we believe in duty, not result.” Saving face in the face of failure is by itself a method. And a political method was for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to say from the beginning that he doesn’t want to become the president, but just would like to support his advisor.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD says: My presence in registration is merely to support my dear brother Mr. Baghai, and I am still committed to the moral promise I made [to the leader not to run for election].
NARRATOR talks of another possibility: Perhaps Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as he had said to Aljazeera Network, did not see any reasons for his own and Mr. Baghai’s disqualification.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD says: Look. There are no reasons. What reasons are there? No reasons. Not for me, not for Baghai. There are no reasons for disqualification.
NARRATOR points out to another possibility: Or perhaps he saw the probability of disqualification, but his registration was a shot in the dark. It is not clear whether he is going to sulk and disappear, like the time when he was the president. Or he will try to make the establishment pay the price for dissatisfaction of his followers in the society. Because both the government and the establishment’s opposition know at the bottom of their hearts, even if they might not openly admit it, that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s social base cannot be ignored.
–Mr. Ahmadinejad should do according to his religious duty, and will certainly do according to his religious duty.
–Disqualification in 2017 means disqualification of 65% of the people. There is no reason for that.
NARRATOR highlights complicated relationship of Ahmadinejad with the establishment: Both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supporters and his opponents know that during his presidency, Iran’s establishment went through one of its major crises ever. But even before the 2009 election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised new hopes in 2005 among the supporters of the establishment. Do not look at Ahmad Janati, secretary of the Guardian Council, who disqualifies Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today. In July 2005, from the tribune of the Friday Mass prayer, he openly showed why, apart from the legal criteria for qualification, he had become personally infatuated with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
AHMAD JANATI recounts an anecdote about voting for Ahmadinejad in 2005: A few days ago, one of my friends told me that he had wanted to go and vote. He had got on the taxi. The taxi driver had said, “sir, who do you vote for?” He had said, “who do you vote for?” The taxi driver had said, “well, I do not know anything. My mother died a few years ago. Last night, she came to my dream, and said vote for Ahmadinejad. And that is what I am going to do.” There are many cases like this, not just one, two, ten or twenty.
NARRATOR mentions former Iranian presidents’ problem with the establishment: Now just like other former presidents, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has issues with the regime. And just like them, he knows that a major part of these problems is inherent and structural.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD asserts: No one has said that the current system that is administering the country, this separation of powers, these relationships, this hierarchy of decision making is perfect and has come from heaven.
NARRATOR continues: Ahmadinejad has always created problems. Ayatollah Khamenei once announced that his views were closer to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but did not have that vision to predict that someday he would recommend something like this to Ahmadinejad.
KHAMENEI tells Ahmadinejad not to run for presidency: Somebody came to me. And out of goodness and consideration for him and the country, I told him not to take part in that thing [presidential election]. I did not even say, “do not take part.” I just said I don’t think it is good for you to take part.
NARRATOR concludes: Now such things are not issue any longer. The establishment should not worry about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s behavior in the upcoming presidential debates. If Ayatollah Khamenei, for any reasons, does not revoke the Guardian Council’s decision, there will not be any threats of “I am going to say, I am going to say,” nor any chance of a tri-polar election.
Saivash Ardalan, BBC