Defamation of Majlis Hopefuls Will Face Backlash

Defamation of Majlis Hopefuls Will Face BacklashDefamation of Majlis Hopefuls Will Face Backlash

A top moderate cleric denounced the use of smear campaigns by the conservative camp against rival parliamentary candidates, predicting that it would face a public backlash at the ballot box on Friday.

"The people are aware and do not fall for hypocritical attacks and smear campaigns," Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by IRNA in an address to a group of people in Tehran on Tuesday. "Despite peoples' disillusion with the performance of some officials in some institutions, we hope that through their votes on Feb. 26 they will give an ultimatum to the extremists."

Ayatollah Rafsanjani said the law explicitly prohibits the media from spreading rumors against election hopefuls. "Thanks to widespread public access to information and news, people have become aware that some comments not only violate ethics but are made out of sheer love of power and posts," he said. Rafsanjani, who is the chairman of Expediency Council, warned that "false accusations" are a cause of moral decay in the society.

"Some have resorted to insult and accusation against their rivals in the parliamentary race because they lack a presentable record to promote in their campaigns," he said. The legislative poll will run simultaneously with the election for the Assembly of Experts, a body of 88 members, whose main task is to select the next leader of the Islamic Revolution and monitor his performance.

  Irreversible Damage

A significant number of Rafsanjani's prominent reformist allies were barred from standing in the two votes by the Guardians Council, a group of six clerics and six jurists who vet candidates.

Among those disqualified from running in the assembly's vote was Hojjatoleslam Hassan Khomeini, a grandson of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an ally of Rafsanjani and President Hassan Rouhani.

Rafsanjani, himself among the Assembly's hopefuls, once again criticized the mass rejections, saying, "The move has inflicted severe, irreversible damage on the revolution and has stoked division among people near the 37th anniversary of the revolution."

Speaking the previous day to those on a joint list of candidates released by a coalition of reformists and government supporters, Rafsanjani lambasted allegations linking the enlisted candidates to adversarial governments, especially Britain.

"The term 'British list' is an insult to the Iranian nation. It is disgusting to see some promoting the idea that it is the enemies who decide the fate of Iranians. It is being implied that Britons have such widespread influence in the country that they can field candidates," he said.