Top Cleric Resigns Over Vote-Fixing
Iran’s former Parliament Speaker and presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi, who came in third in Friday’s presidential election, today resigned his membership of the powerful State Expediency Council and stepped down as an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in protest against rigging of the polls “by sections of the Revolutionary Guard and the [paramilitary] Bassij”. READ MORE
In a statement, Karroubi, a mid-ranking cleric, denounced the conditions under which the elections were held.
In a separate development, a website run by the former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezai reported that an undisclosed number of officials in the campaign headquarters of two presidential candidates had been arrested “on charges of widespread electoral fraud”.
In an open letter to Khamenei, Karroubi wrote, “I thank you for the trust you have placed in me, but as of this moment, I resign from all my political posts, including being an adviser to Your Eminence and being a member of the State Expediency Council”.
The Persian-language website Baztab said the detainees faced charges such as “distribution of defamatory leaflets against their rivals, attempts to gain votes through illegal means, and breach of campaign rules”. It added that some of these acts were committed on Election Day.
Former President, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, took first place, though he did not have more than 50 percent of the total ballots needed to win the race.
The run-off will be held this coming Friday between the conservative cleric and ultra-conservative former Tehran mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.