President Ahmadinejad
Photo: EPA

Report: Ahmadinejad may face 74 lashes over election ‘violation’

Iran president violates electoral law by accompanying presidential candidate to register for June vote. Candidate: Ahmadinejad was on his 'day off'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may face punishment if charged with breaking electoral rules, the Al Arabiya news network reported.


According to the report, Iran's electoral watchdog pointed out that Ahmadinejad may face a punishment of “74 lashes” for accompanying his former chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie to register for June’s presidential vote and appearing to endorse him.


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Iranian electoral law bans individuals from supporting candidates in an official capacity.


Iranian press reports said a conviction could bring a maximum punishment of six months in jail or 74 lashes.


Video: Reuers    ( צילום: רויטרס)

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However, Al Arabiya said analysts have brushed off “hyped” claims that Ahmadinejad would be penalized.


“There will be no lashing; the news is hyped and ridiculous,” Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh, the director of the Center for Arab & Iranian Studies in London, told Al Arabiya English on Monday.


“Yes, there would be a punishment if this was in a country that runs by law and order, with a strong judiciary that ensures laws and punishments are followed through. But in Iran, most people break the rules, from the ayatollah to the man on the street,” Nourizadeh said.


Al-Arabiya said Ahmadinejad had accompanied Mashaie on Saturday to register at the Interior Ministry. Photographs in the Iranian media showed them making peace signs.


נשיא איראן אחמדינג'אד עם משאאי. "לקח יום חופש" (צילום: EPA)

Ahmadinejad (L) with Mashaie (Photo: EPA)


Mashaie said the president had accompanied him on “a day off” from work, a claim Nourizadeh said would be Ahmadinejad’s “innocent response” if ever he were questioned as to why he went.


But a report by Iranian online news site, Khabar on Monday stated the president had “introduced an individual (Mashaie) as an election candidate.”


A spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodai, said the council’s supervisory board unanimously agreed “the...actions of the president in introducing an individual as an election candidate constituted a violation and were criminal,” according to Khabar.


“We reported the facts to the judiciary,” Kadkhodai said.


The Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists, vets all candidates for elections.


“If President Ahmadinejad had trespassed the electoral process, it’s up to judiciary to decide and not the Guardian Council,” Iranian political analyst and writer Camelia Entekhabifard told Al Arabiya English.


However, Al Arabiya said, the move by the Guardian Council could be a tactic to ward off the president from future interference in the elections.


Ahmadinejad cannot run for a third term on constitutional grounds in the June 14 presidential polls.


According to Al Arabiya, Iran’s ruling conservatives believe Ahmadinejad is trying to maintain influence through Mashaie assuming office, accusing him of pushing towards a more nationalistic doctrine and sidelining clerical powers in the country.



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פרסום ראשון: 05.13.13, 18:47
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