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Conservatives Congratulate and Warn Rouhani

Supporters of Iranian conservative presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi cheer during an election camping rally in Tehran, Iran, 16 May 2017.
Supporters of Iranian conservative presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi cheer during an election camping rally in Tehran, Iran, 16 May 2017.

Reactions by some conservative groups and the defeated challenger in Iran’s presidential election show that Rouhani will hardly have a break from attacks and criticism by his detractors.

Islamic Revolution Popular Front, IRPF, the political coalition which was established to select a single conservative (principlist) candidate to challenge the incumbent president, congratulated Hassan Rouhani for his reelection.

But at the same time, IRPF uses this opportunity to warn President Rouhani without mincing words, “[Mr. President] beware of resorting to the already tried and failed remedies.”

In its statement, Sunday 21 May 2017, the conservative grouping that pit mid-ranking cleric, Ebrahim Raisi, against Rouhani, told the president elect: “By emphasis on the internal capability and the massive capacity of the Iranian youth, you should take urgent steps toward resolving the economic and social problems and avoid failed experiences such as trusting foreigners or relying on them.”

The congratulatoru message aside, the statement is also a declaration to settle scores with Rouhani and dictate some of the conservative guidelines: “If you, through implementing wrong strategies or tackling superficial problems, forget the nation’s main priorities and waste your four year term…, we are going to hold you accountable.”

By reminding Rouhani of the sixteen million votes his challenger, Raisi received, IRPF says: “Sixteen million votes reflect an undeniable, serious will and desire for changing the current situation in favor of the people and the oppressed. This is not a case that could be ignored by the governments or men of power and wealth. Undoubtedly, they would bow to the will and desire [for change].”

Earlier, in a separate statement, Raisi, 56, who was supported by IRPF skipped congratulating Rouhani for his reelection and emphasized that he’s going to sue the Elections Executive and Supervisory Board for ‘blatant violations’ in the voting procedure.

In May 19 Election, Raisi, receiving 38.5% of the popular vote, was defeated by Hassan Rouhani, 68, who secured 57% of the popular vote.

Hours before Raisi’s statement, the president elect, in a statement for his part, declared: “[The outcome of the election] shows that the people have said ‘No!’ to those who wanted to direct the country backwards.”

Rouhani branded his reelection as ‘Victory of peace and reconciliation over tension and violence’: “Today, the world knows that Iran has chosen a track far from violence,” he said, cheerfully adding, “The result of the election was the victory of national unity and solidarity over division and schism.”