With only seven months until the Iranian presidential elections, speculation about who will inherit the de-sanctioned nation has begun. Aside from current President Hassan Rouhani himself, the frontrunner has been former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That is, until this week.
On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad announced that he would not be running for office, per Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recommendation.
The announcement quenches rumors that have smoldered for weeks. The murmurings stemmed from a letter in which Ahmadinejad demanded that United States President Barack Obama overturn a Supreme Court ruling allowing Iranian assets be used to compensate victims of the 1983 Beirut bombing. His public appearances since then have added fuel to the fires of speculation. A quick meeting with Khamenei at the end of August changed that. On Tuesday in a letter addressed to the supreme leader, Ahmadinejad wrote, “You recommended that it was not in my interest to run in the elections, and I stated [my] obedience.”
Regardless of perceived support among the nation’s ultraconservatives and the radical Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ahmadinejad was missing one crucial vote: the ayatollah’s. Without the endorsement of the supreme leader, Ahmadinejad’s cause was all but extinguished.
The dousing from Ahmadinejad’s superior provides a reminder for us to keep in mind through the next seven months: The next president will be Khamenei’s choice.
Flash back to mid-2013 and the election of Rouhani. At the time, the Western media gushed about the change sweeping Iran. What else could explain the arrival of a “moderate” leader? What most failed to note was the fact that Rouhani was one of just eight candidates. Those eight were handpicked by the Guardian Council from a pool of some 686 potential presidential nominees.
Among those disqualified was a former president looking to run again, considered far more moderate than Rouhani. The murky and subjective criteria of the council means anyone it doesn’t want to run, won’t run—regardless of how popular he is with the masses.
The Guardian Council is an unelected body of 12 religious jurists. Half of the Guardian Council is elected by the supreme leader, and the other half is nominated by the head of the Supreme Court and appointed by the parliament. Oh, and the head of the Supreme Court is selected by the supreme leader. Ipso facto, the group that chooses the presidential candidates is entirely swayed by the ayatollah.
While still a long time until the elections, speculation is circulating that Rouhani may be the first incumbent president not to be re-elected. That said, his closest two rivals have recently dropped out of contention. Fueling the speculation is the fact that everyday Iranians are upset that they have not experienced the promised fruits of the nuclear deal with the P5+1 nations.
This speculation is flawed, however, because it is based on the idea that the public dictates the candidates. History proves the ayatollah couldn’t care less about what the public wants. Remember 2009, when protesters took to the streets after Ahmadinejad won a second term in office. His first (and second) term was mired in corruption and sanctions-inducing rhetoric.
The protests became known as the Green Movement. Though promising regime change, the movement lacked the support of the U.S. and subsequently failed.
A former interior minister claimed that the votes were higher than the eligible voting population in as many as 170 cities across the country. But the Guardian Council assured the public this was not the case. “The incident has happened in only 50 cities,” according to council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei.
Ultimately the Guardian Council dismissed all allegations of corruption and gave the victory to Ahmadinejad.
This time, few contenders enjoy the political support Rouhani does. The fact that the population is dissatisfied with the results of the nuclear deal means little. What counts is Khamenei’s favor. There is little to suggest that Rouhani doesn’t have it.
But just because the president is a puppet of the ayatollah does not make the election insignificant. Look at what happened in 2013.
On January 17 [one day after the nuclear deal was implemented], Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the deal a “golden page” and “turning point” for his nation. How true that is! Iran was hemorrhaging financially because of Western sanctions. But the nuclear agreement gave Iran access to $150 billion as the U.S. released its frozen assets.
Iran somehow managed to go from under the boot of the international community to being a strategic pseudo-ally of the U.S. in the war against the Islamic State. Now America is the number one sponsor of the number one state sponsor of terrorism!
Iranian elections may lack the hype of those in the U.S., but history proves that they make a deep impact on the Middle East. Whether the ayatollah wants a new president next year or not, he has big plans for Iran and will choose the man right for the job. We need to understand why.
The Trumpet has long been forecasting those Shiite aspirations, and how President Rouhani—capitalizing on American naivety—has played a key role in pressing toward the goal.
Our recently expanded and updated booklet The King of the South, gives an in-depth look at both the historic and, more importantly, prophetic significance of Iran and subsequently where its leaders are taking the nation.
To whet your appetite, here are a few excerpts:
Since the early 1990s, we have believed and taught that Iran would lead the radical Islamist world and be the king of the south [found in scriptures from Daniel 11]. Today, Iran is “king” in the Middle East. …
Anybody with common sense knows you should not negotiate with nations that yearn for your destruction. America negotiated with the worst terrorist-sponsoring nation on Earth and invited it into the community of nations. Is this leading to peace? Read Matthew 24:21-22 to see where it is leading. Nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction are about to be put to use on a scale this world has never seen! …
This prophecy in Daniel 11:42 is moving toward fulfillment right before our eyes in this end time, and it is mainly because of Iran’s “push” toward radical Islam. But that pushy foreign policy will lead to its downfall in a way that most people cannot imagine!
Iran is mentioned in the Bible, as are its prophesied plans for the Middle East. Do you want to understand where Iran’s leaders both now and after the upcoming election will lead their nation—and your world? It is a deadly trajectory, but one that will be short-lived. Rather than achieve the ayatollah’s goals, it will precede the greatest future we could ever imagine. Curious? Read The King of the South. You truly have nothing to lose, but everything beyond your wildest imagination to gain. ▪