Friday , 21 June 2024

Iranwire Exclusive: Presidential Candidate Presents Himself as the Strongman Iran Needs in the Future

Iranwire – Individuals presenting themselves as advisors to presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf have approached European and American diplomats and officials in the past two weeks, according to a European diplomat. 

“The gist of their argument is that Iran needs a strongman when Khamenei dies, and that strongman is Ghalibaf,” the diplomat said on the condition of anonymity.

“They’ve been warning us that internal conflicts within the regime will intensify in the post-Khamenei era, and only Mr Ghalibaf has the necessary authority and connections to rein in different factions and bring security and peace to Iran.”

During the 2005 presidential election, Ghalibaf presented himself as a modernist who aimed to be “an Islamic Reza Shah,” referring to Reza Shah Pahlavi, the authoritarian monarch who ruled Iran between 1925 and 1941.

Many Iranians in the past two decades have been chanting Reza Shah’s name during anti-government protests.

Ghalibaf, a former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander who was the mayor of Tehran and now serves as the Speaker of the Parliament.

According to the diplomat, Ghalibaf’s team claims that he will improve Iran’s relations with the rest of the world and will “cleanse” the regime of radical elements. 

According to the diplomat, different groups and individuals in various countries have been approached in the last two weeks.

The diplomat expects that now that Ghalibaf has been named as one of the final six candidates, the campaign to introduce him as the best candidate will gain pace.

IranWire’s contacts within the Ghalibaf camp did not confirm or deny the meetings.

The diplomat mentioned that the individuals who approached Western officials included academics and members of think tanks in Europe and the United States.

“I’m not sure what their exact objectives are for such meetings,” said the diplomat. “But, it seems that many people inside the regime are discussing the post-Khamenei era, and Ghalibaf’s team is trying to convince the West that he is the future leader of Iran and they should start accepting that as a fact.”