The Iranian political arena has never before witnessed such an early start to the campaign season. Campaigns for the presidential election, which will take place in June 2013, got off to an early start this year for reasons related to both domestic issues and regional developments. Iranian political forces and parties are actively preparing for election campaigns, trying to avoid any mishaps that could affect their electoral future. With increasing frequency, various parties have started to deny reports regarding the candidacy of a certain figure or the holding of an electoral consultative meeting. This indicates that these parties and figures want to test the waters within political circles [regarding the viability of a given candidate] and scrutinize the reactions. These reactions usually provide indicators relating to the nature of [a candidate’s] electoral mobility.
Those who are interested in Iranian affairs believe that the prevailing legal, political and religious complexities within the various frameworks in Iran is what pushed these parties to hesitantly take action for the purpose of examining reactions. The sword of the Constitutional Advisory Council, headed by the hard-line scholar Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, is hanging over the heads of the people, particularly the candidates who do not abide by the laws and values of the Islamic Republic. All electoral candidates are subject to the approval of this council, which scrutinizes the candidate from the day he was born until the day he thought about entering the elections. The council reviews all positions a candidate has assumed during his entire political career. Additionally, the political scene becomes even more complex when one examines party alliances. These alliances are related to the nature of the relationship between conservative fundamentalists on one hand, and the rest of the political spectrum on the other hand, not to mention the role of the religious establishment and its institutions in supporting a given candidate. Even if we disregard these issues, there are other important and logical reasons that make the next presidential race sensitive at domestic, regional and international levels.