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Rouhani Political Aide: Election Brawl Threatens Iran’s National Security | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Women walk past electoral posters for the parliamentary elections in central Tehran February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

London- With presidential elections just around the corner, the political spat in Tehran is ever more escalating.

In their recent confrontation, the ‘reformist’ administration led by President Hassan Rouhani-who seeks another term in office- and former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forced a top Rouhani administration official to come out urging for restraint to be exercised in the best interest of national security.

All the while a senior official belonging to Ahmadinejad’s bloc said that reformers (in reference to Rouhani’s party) represent a major threat in the May 19 municipal elections, coinciding with the presidential election.

Hamid Aboutalebi, a political aide in the Rouhani administration, responded to harsh criticisms by Ahmadinejad earlier in the week when visiting the Ahwaz region in the southwest.

Aboutalebi accused Ahmadinejad of seeking to weaken national bipartisanship in hopes of reaching conservative support.

Ahmadinejad had gone as far as accusing Iran’s current president of defection.

Criticizing the current economic policy leaving Iran destitute, Ahmadinejad addressed Rohani saying “Who are you to not accept what the people say? 97 percent of people want something … Why do you oppose? Could it be that from among 80 million people, you and only you understand what is right? The people of Iran are the sole reason you are president.”

Ahmadinejad’s harshly phrased reproach was relayed during a speech he gave before a crowd of supporters in the city of Ahwaz, despite his previous statements of standing out from any election-related campaigning.

Aboutalebi, rushing to back Rouhani and promote the national spirit of unity, said that Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric destroys security and deregulates the national economy by promoting inequity among the rich and poor, along with depleting national wealth.

More so, Aboutalebi said that Ahmadinejad’s remarks chiefly promote nonconstructive populism.

According to the latest statistics released by the interior ministry, over 258,000 people – 15,566 of whom are women – have submitted papers to run for Iran’s nationwide municipal elections.