Karrubi declares presidential candidacy

October 13, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN – National Confidence Party chief Mahdi Karroubi has officially announced his candidacy for the 2009 presidential elections.

“After many consultations … with the help of God and the love I bear for the system, country, national interests, and people I declare my candidacy,” Karroubi told a press conference on Sunday.
Karroubi, a former Majlis speaker, failed to win the 2005 presidential election. He came third after Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the first round of the vote.
Karroubi recently traveled to Qom to consult with ulema on his plan to contest elections.
“We had consultations with groups, figures, clerics and ulema,” the former Majlis speaker stated.
He said he will insist on “collective wisdom” if elected president next year.
Main competitor
Karroubi said his main rival is Ahmadinejad as nobody has so far announced his candidacy for the post.
“Actually, so far except Dr. Ahmadinejad who is currently president and is also running campaigns I have no serious rival.”
Asked whether he will drop out if former president Mohammad Khatami decides to stand in the elections, Karroubi said his party has left the door “open for dialogue” to make necessary decisions.
Karroubi had formerly suggested that presidential hopefuls within the reformist camp compete with each other to see their approval ratings in the society and then others drop out in favor of the most popular candidate.
The former lawmaker said many have asked him to run in the election but some other have asked him to avoid running, but “everybody has his own ideas”.
Insisting on nuclear rights and building confidence
Asked whether he will suspend nuclear enrichment activities if he is elected president, Karroubi said he will not abandon the Iranian nation’s rights to access nuclear technology but will pursue a confidence-building policy on concerns over Iran’s atomic efforts.
“As you know the climax of negotiations and challenges related to the issue was during my presence in the Majlis and at the time we held some meetings with officials at the Supreme National Security Council in the presence of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution and we analyzed the different aspects of the issue.”
“Since the Majlis days I have openly said that about the nuclear issue we must on the one hand defend our rights and on the other hand take our steps wisely.”
He said two groups are opposed to Iran’s nuclear activities: One is trying to play politics on the nuclear program and the other has really some worries about the intentions behind Tehran’s atomic efforts.
Karrubi said he has the capability to address the world’s concerns about Iran’s program through gaining their confidence in the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear plans.
He also criticized Ahmadinejad’s stance on the Holocaust, saying in his view Iran has “paid dearly” for the raising of the Holocaust issue.
Karrubi added, “Finally, We did not understand what were the benefits of raising this subject for the system.”