Leader backs up Constitutional Council, urges Iranians to participate in June 18 election

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has backed up the Constitutional Council against recent criticism of its disqualification of some presidential hopefuls.

Iran (IMNA) - During a meeting via video-link with members of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) on Thursday (May 27), the Leader said the Constitutional Council had carried out its duty.

“The respected Constitutional Council did what it had to do and what it deemed necessary to do as its duty, [and] determined the candidates,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader pointed to the criticisms that have been directed at the Constitutional Council and said the critical statements had been made with different motives. Some of the statements were made by people because they had real care for the people and concerns about a low participation in the election, he said, adding that some sides complained because their favorite candidate had not been approved.

Neither of those two groups can be found fault with, Ayatollah Khamenei said, explaining however that a third group of individuals were opposing the concept of the Constitutional Council altogether. “God will not have mercy on these people,” the Leader said.

Iran’s Interior Ministry released a list of approved presidential candidates — drawn up by the Constitutional Council after 10 days of vetting — on Tuesday. Several high-profile figures, including Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri and former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani — were not found qualified to run. That sparked criticism of the Council, mainly by the Reformist camp, which had intended to field Jahangiri as its top choice.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said he had written to Ayatollah Khamenei to express his grievances about the matter.

‘People aren’t concerned about names’

The Leader referred to the concerns about the low participation of the people in the forthcoming election and said he did not believe that people were concerned about names.

“Rather, the people are looking for an individual who has high managerial capabilities and firm will and performance to solve the country’s issues. And it doesn’t matter to people what title that person holds or which party he hails from. Of course, that may be important to the political factions, but not to the general populace,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader thanked all the individuals who nominated to run. “Many of these people undoubtedly entered the scene because they felt a responsibility [before the people].”

Furthermore, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “I have to doubly thank those whose qualification was not approved and was not ascertained by the Council and who reacted nobly. Some of them even encouraged people to participate in the election.”

The Leader said the fact that the Constitutional Council had not been able to ascertain the qualification of certain candidates did not mean that those individuals were not qualified — “they may even be highly qualified” — what it meant was that the Council had not been able to determine such a qualification based on its own recognition, reports, and the available tools.

‘Don’t do mud-slinging! Don’t do taboo-breaking!’

The election is a race to serve the people, said the Leader, urging the candidates to view the election as such.

Ayatollah Khamenei also advised the candidates to refrain from mud-slinging and leveling accusations against others, or making unfeasible pledges.

“Moral considerations should seriously be taken into account. If the candidates really observe Islamic ethics in the debates and in the interviews that they give, this [behavior] will spread over to the society,” he said.

The Leader also advised the candidates against attempting to break the taboos.

“To be seen and heard more, certain parties come up with the solution of breaking customs, ‘violating the red lines of the establishment’ — as they would say themselves. The Islamic Republic is firmly in place and is there to stay; it is an establishment that has been settled in place; the main contours of the establishment are clear. People should not attempt to somehow earn themselves a position by violating the important boundaries of the Islamic Republic. No status will be earned that way,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader also urged the Iranian people to turn out to vote in the election.

“Dear Iranian nation! Election takes place in one day, but its outcome is there for several years. Participate in the election! Consider the election as belonging to yourselves, because it does belong to you,” the Leader said.

“Do not heed the words of these people who propagate that ‘[taking part] is futile, let’s not go- we won’t go to the ballot box.’ These don’t have the people’s interests in mind. Anyone who does would never ask people not to go to the ballot box,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.

‘Iran’s most immediate issue is the economy’

The Leader said virtual space and foreign policy were not the immediate concerns of the people.

“Presently, the main and the urgent issue of the country is the economy, and the candidates should present their plans to solve the economic issues to the people and convince them that they can resolve those problems,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

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