The Media and the Elections: February 4-15, 2013

A round-up of the latest headlines in the Iranian media related to the upcoming June 14, 2013 Iranian Presidential Elections. This week Iran Media Program and ASL 19 take a look at newspapers, magazines, and online media. This was originally posted to the Iran Media Program website.

On February 9, Kayhan reported that reformists have formed two consulting committees to create a coalition for the upcoming election. Two of the most famous reformists, Mohammed-Reza Aref and Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, will lead the coalition, and other potential candidates are expected to join.

According to Hamid Rasaei, member of Paydari Front and a pro-Ahmadinejad MP, the former Iranian president Rafsanjani will nominate himself for the 2013 presidency. Rasaei also speculates that if the Guardian Council approves Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, there is likely to be a close tie between Rafsanjani and Mashaei in the upcoming presidential elections.

Mohsen Rezaei, the current Secretary General of Iran’s advisory Expediency Discernment Council, will also nominate himself, this time as a politician in place of his nomination as a former commander of the army.

On February 11, the media focused on the 22 Bahman rallies celebrating the anniversary of the 1979 revolution; however, the upcoming elections remained in the forefront as well. At a 22 Bahman ceremony, Ahmadinejad ended his speech at one event with the “Long Live the Spring” motto. This phrase has been viewed as a slogan for Ahmadinejad’s allies in the upcoming election, especially by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, whose candidacy for the presidential elections is set to receive key support from the current administration.

Hossein Marashi, a member of the Kargozaran faction and relative of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, stated in Mardomak that the Islamic Republic is looking for a president who is trustworthy and able to overcome the current challenges faced by Iran. Marashi added that if the Supreme Leader were to trust the next government, he would give it the authority to solve these problems. Marashi seems certain that the next president will not be a reformist and that the upcoming election is truly a competition between fundamentalists. He predicts that after the election, Iran-US negotiations will begin and lead to positive results.

Online media
The legal advisor to Iran’s Attorney General and Secretary of the Commission to Determine the Instances of Criminal Contents, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi announced a new list of cyber crimes related to the presidential election. According to Khorramabadi, these instances of crime are identified under Presidential Election Law and Islamic Criminal Law, which all websites are required to follow. This new list of cyber crimes includes publishing content that encourages the public to boycott the election, to hold protest gatherings without special permits, to strike or to interrupt the normal process of election, or conducting any independent, un-approved media activity. Disturbing public opinion, spreading blasphemous material, publishing materials that are against the national interest, causing conflict between people through racial and ethnic matters, and publishing the results of polls related to the election are also amongst the list of crimes. See Iran Election Watch for the full list.

A similar list of cyber-crimes was prepared last year prior to the parliamentary election.