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: "Who Represents Tehran in Majlis?
Hamshahri, Daily Newspaper, No. 3391, May. 27th, 2004
By : Mohammad Hassan Ruzitalab
Word Count : 2241
Analysts are of the view that the Feb 2004 legislative elections lacked any vestige of democracy because reformist aspirants were barred from running.
Consequently,the voter turnout hit its record low in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.Voter apathy was significant in Tehran with 30 percent of the eligible voters casting ballots.The conservatives finally swept the elections and grabbed the majority of seats.
The conservative-led Hamshahri, the mouthpiece of Tehran City Hall, offers a background of the 29 candidates who won the elections in the capital. One nominee will be elected in the run-off vote.
1.Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel topped the list offered by the Developers of Islamic Iran. He teaches philosophy at Tehran University and is known as a cultural figure in the Islamic Republic. Haddad-Adel won a seat in the former reformist-led parliament and led the minority faction. He always kept mum in the face of reformist lawmakers. Haddad-Adel who was the top vote-getter in Tehran has been voted as the speaker. Despite being very fond of philosophy and culture, he is a staunch supporter of Isalmic technocratism. He says the conservative-led parliament intends to create an Islamic Japan in Iran. Analysts are of the view that Haddad-Adel will abandon politics to turn back to culture once his term ends in Majlis. He says he felt obliged to run for parliament.
2.Ahmad Tavakoli is reputed for his frequent objections. He says the conservatives will defend President Mohammad Khatami more than reformists. Tavakoli represented Behshahr in the first post-revolutionary assembly and he was elected to the Presiding Board. He served the minister of labor and social affairs and also the government spokesman under Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Moussavi. Tavakoli started his protests in 1983 when he stepped down as the minister of labor in objection to the government interference in the economic sector. Tavakoli kept away from politics for nearly twenty years. Such individuals become successful journalists in Iran. Tavakoli is case in point. He founded the Resaalat newspaper in 1985. The paper turned out to be the most influential critic of Mr Moussavi. Tavakoli also established Farda paper. He contested former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1993. Tavakoli calls for fight against economic corruption and rente-seeking. Speculation is rife that he will run for president in 2005. Tavakoli is tipped to lead the Majlis Planning and Budgeting Committee and he is willing to reexamine the fourth-five year economic development plan.
3.Hossein Mozaffar represents the symbol of failure of Islamist reformists. He introduces himself as a traditionalist leftist and is fiercely opposed to modern reformists. Mozaffar garnered the least votes to be elected as the minister of education when the fifth parliament was in place. When Morteza Haji was elected the minister of education, Mozaffar went to the Expediency Council. Then, his name was abruptly seen on the list offered by the Developers of Islamic Iran. Mozaffar was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Mujahideen Organization (IRMO). The developers accuse Mozaffar of "political cleanup" against those who did note vote Khatami in 1997. Mozaffar dismisses such allegations citing his restricted authority. Mozaffar concluded his ministerial term while he was close to being impeached.
4.Hossein Fadaie is the most associative member of the Developers. He is the secretary-general of the Assembly of War Veterans. Fadaie was also the head of election committee of the Developers. He sat with Haddad-Adel and Tavakoli at a press conference to prove his strategic position. Fadaie prefers political activities to executive posts. He served as the vice-chairman of the Board of Directors for Refah Chain Stores to prove his support for free market economy. He was a member of the IRMO and deputy commander of the revolutionary guards corps for parliamentary affairs. He stood at the bottom of the list of Tehran legislators but he can be a member of the Presiding Board.
5.Amir-Reza Khadem was sure that he will be elected. Thanks to his athletic popularity, the well-known wrestler claimed the third spot among Tehran MPs. Khadem has not bid farewell to sports and he dreams of Olympic championship. He is not a political figure but his brother Rasool was working with the election campaigning committee of Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri who was contesting Khatami in 1997. Amir-Reza Khadem will definitely lead the sports committee of Majlis Cultural Commission.
6.Saeed Abutaleb never thought to start a year of turns and twists in March 2003. A chemistry teacher, Abutaleb shot documentaries for the state-run television. Abutaleb was captured by American troops in Iraq where he was filming. The Foreign Ministry left no stones unturned to secure the release of Abutaleb and his colleague Soheil Karimi. The duo was shooting "The Mirage of Legendary Land" in Iraq. The documentary will definitely be a blockbuster in the country.
7.Mehdi Tabatabaie Shirazi garnered votes by appearing on the state television. He led congregational prayers at Mussa bin Jaafar Mosque. Tabatabaie, a member of the Association of Combatant Clergy, enjoys heavy clout with religious circles.
8.Ahmad Ahmadi is a mid-ranking cleric who got his PhD in philosophy from the United States. He backed Mohammad Khatami in the run-up to the 1997 elections. A year later, he renounced his support for Khatami. Along with Abdul-Karim Soroush, Ali Shariatmadari and Shams Al-e Ahmad, Ahmadi was an active member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. Ahmad who lead prayers at Qods Mosque teaches at Tarbiat-e-Modarres University. Outspoken ideologues like Mohsen Armin, Hashem Aghajari and Ataollah Mohajerani were his students. He will an effective member of the Majlis Higher Education Committee.
9.Nafiseh Fayyazbakhsh was little-known in Tehran. She set the cornerstone for family tribunals. Fayyazbakhsh, shoo-in to lead the women front, is a redoubted opponent of Iran's adhesion to the United Nations convention banning discrimination against women. She will definitely join the Majlis Judicial Committee.
10.Mohammad Khoshchehreh is an economist at the Majlis. He holds a PhD in economic development and planning. Khoshchehreh was an economic aide to then prime minister in the 1980s. He opposes free market economy and globalization. He claims that he can resolve the scourge of unemployment. Khoshchehreh finished 9th in Tehran.
11.Emad Afrough was an academic on the list of Developers. In protest to former university minister Mostafa Moin, he quit as a faculty member of Tarbiat-e-Modarres University. Afrough was chairman of the social committee of the Center for Strategic Research at presidential office in the early 1990s. The center was headed by Mussavi Khoini with Saeed Hajjarian leading the political committee. Afrough wrote for Asr-e Ma, the mouthpiece of IRMO. He joined the Expediency Council in 1998 to be very critical of reformists. Afrough is fiercely opposed to globalization and capitalism. He must have voted Khatami in 1997.
12.Davoud Danesh Jaafari was predicted to be among the Developers. He represented Tehran in the fifth parliament and is now the secretary of the macro-economic committee of the Expediency Council. Unlike Khoshchehreh, Jaafari calls for Iran's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO). He teaches at Allamah Tabatabaie University but he is at odds with other professors. He maintains that the parliament will focus on economic woes. Jaafari looks set to head the economic committee of the parliament.
13.Ali Zakani was elected to represent the Basiji students. Zakani's fiery speech in July 1999 is unforgettable. He was also a deputy to Fadaie. Zakani opposes Iran's signature of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He believes that the Islamic Republic should quit the NPT and he has reiterated his position in his interviews.
14.Laleh Eftekhari is a member of the Association of Islamic Revolutionary Women. She is a close associate of Maryam Behrouzi who leads the Zeinab Society. Eftekhari will be silent.
15.Fazlollah Moussavi was recently introduced by the judiciary chief to sit at the Guardian Council as a jurist. The former parliament turned him down and he managed to garner half a million votes in Tehran. Moussavi is the director of the Association for Defending the Victims of Chemical Warfare. He managed to convince the Iranian authorities to erect a plaque outside the German embassy on May 11 denouncing Germany's contribution to Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons arsenal, in the latest tit-for-tat measure in a diplomatic spat between Berlin and Tehran. Moussavi will certainly serve at the Majlis Judicial Committee.
16.Fatemeh Alia is a member of the Association of War Veterans. She has been working with Vice-President Zahra Shojaie at the Center for Women Affairs. Alia will definitely sit at the Majlis Women Committee.
17.Ali Abbaspour Tehrani was initially not among the Tehran MPs. The Guardian Council recounted the ballots and Abbaspour ranked 12th. Holding a PhD in nuclear physics from Berkley University, Abbaspour does not approve of the NPT Additional Protocol. He was the chancellor of Sharif University of Technology for a period of time. He also led the Higher Education Committee of the fifth Majlis. Abbaspour who will lead the cultural committee in the parliament calls for cultural cleanup of the campuses. However, he maintains that crackdowns may give the contrary result.
18.Hossein Nejabat holds a PhD in physics and is close to Ahmad Tavakoli. When the latter launched Farda newspaper, the former was in charge of the international desk. He is the brother of ex-MP Amad Nejabat. Hossein Nejabat is a technocrat who is not controversial like his brother.
19.Hossein Sheikholeslam is more known to foreign media. He was a student loyal to Imam Khomeini but now he does not maintain friendly ties with former hostage-takers at the US embassy. After the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, Sheikholeslam served as the deputy foreign minister for political affairs for 16 years. Internet newspapers introduce Sheikholeslam as the spin doctor of Iranian foreign diplomacy, Then, he represented Iran in Syria where he boosted his ties with President Bashar al-Assad. Sheikholeslam is opposed to uranium enrichment freeze. He will be a key member of Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Committee.
20.Elham Aminzadeh got her PhD in law from Glasgow University. She sat the same class with Hassan Rohani who is the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. Aminzadeh was formerly working with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). She is also a member of the Association for Defending the Victims of Chemical Warfare.
21.Fatemeh Rahbar who is another female legislator is affiliated with the Islamic Coalition Society. Rahbar is now in charge of the Internet Policymaking Council at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). A candidate for Majlis Cultural Committee, Rahbar favors limited access to Internet. She may prove a controversial deputy.
22.Abbas-Ali Akhtari is a Friday Prayers leader. The mid-ranking cleric is close to influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He is also advisor to the supreme leader for international affairs. A member of the Association of Combatant Clergy, Akhtari calls for cultural development.
23.Gholam-Reza Mesbahi is a close associate to Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani. He is the spokesman for the Association of Combatant Clergy, led by Ayatollah Kani. Mesbahi is an expert in economy. He is opposed to Iran's signature of the Additional Protocol to the NPT.
24.Elias Nadern is known for his fierce opposition to globalization. He was expelled from France for his daughter observing Islamic dress code. Nadern opposes Iran's entry to the WTO and NPT Additional Protocol. His name was on the list of the Developers but he will be a member of the Independent Servants Front.
25.Mohammad Sorouri is the most obscure candidate on the list of the Developers. A former revolutionary guard, Sorouri was Iran's military attaché in Syria and Lebanon. He was influential in quelling the July 1999 student unrest. Sorouri is now a member of the Islamic Coalition Society.
26.Manouchehr Motaki has a good experience of foreign diplomacy. He earlier represented Turkman Port in the first assembly. He as also a core member of the Front Loyal to Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader. Motaki has proposed division of the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee to three committees of defense, national security and foreign policy. He will be a key member of the foreign policy and national security committee.
27.Ali Riyadh was an upstart candidate on the Developers list. A former war veteran, he is now teaching at Shahid Beheshti Medical University. He is the frontrunner for the post of Health Committee.
28.Mehdi Kouchekzadeh came to the limelight when he spoke against Hashem Aghajari. Holding a PhD in irrigation, he has a lot to say about development. Kouchekzadeh is a technocrat on the Developers list.
29.Hamid-Reza Katuzian whose students never thought to see him as a deputy is now a representative in the capital. He taught "materials resistance" at university. Katuzian got his post-doctorate in mechanics from Berkley University. He is the most technocratic figure among the Developers. He was technical advisor at Iran Khodro but he fell foul of the Board of Directors. Katuzian backs free car imports. A former student loyal to Imam Khomeini, he is preparing to get a post at the Majlis Industrial Committee. The Ministry of Industries will have to take up the gauntlet thrown by Katuzian for car imports. Such challenge will definitely command the newspaper headlines."