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Iran's Hardliner Watchdog Rejects Lawmaker's Accusation Of Manipulating Elections

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Secretary of Iran's influential Guardian Council and Chairman of the Assembly of Experts. FILE PHOTO

In a statement on Monday, Iran's constitution and election watchdog refuted the allegations made against the clerical body and its secretary by an outspoken lawmaker.

The Guardian Council's response which was published in Sharq newspaper called Ali Motahari ill-tempered and hostile and said his allegations that the Council and its secretary Ayatollah Ali Jannati seek to manipulate elections through disqualifying candidates belonging to opposition camps are not true.

Motahari had derided the nonagenarian head of the Council in an open letter on May 9 saying he has assumed "the position of God" by abusing his powers.

In his letter to the 93-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Motahari urged him "to step down from God's position" and correct his behavior. Notorious for not mincing his words, Motahari was responding to Jannati's recent rejection of a parliament proposal to amend the country's Electoral Law.

On May 3, the parliament turned down a proposal to add the Revolutionary Guard to the authorized official entities that have a say in the fate of candidates seeking seats in different elections.

Jannati dismissed the parliament's decision as a move to undermine the procedure for weighing the record and qualifications of candidates over which the Council has full control. The Council also has the power to turn down the laws approved by the Parliament on the basis of its own interpretation of the Iranian Constitution and the sharia.

Deploring the Ayatollah's response, Motahari directly addressed Jannati on his Telegram Channel and retorted: "The Majles does not need your guidelines."

Jannati occupies two prominent positions in the clergy-dominated Iran's political scene. He is the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, the body responsible for selecting the Supreme Leader, as well as the secretary of the Guardian Council.

Despite his age, Jannati has been repeatedly reinstated in as the secretary of the Council by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei over nearly three decades.

Blasting Jannati for leading the Council "unbridled" for years and doing whatever he wishes under the "ambiguous" term of "approbatory supervision," Motahari has condemned the supervisory body's decisions to disqualify thousands of candidates as merciless and unfair.