According to a recent article in the Global Post:
A pro-reform clerical group in Iran is calling on the country’s former moderate leaders to step up to the plate ahead of the country’s June presidential election.
The article goes on to say:
The Society of Seminary Teachers and Researchers of Qom issued a statement saying in “view of the current national situation,” former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani should run for president. Qom is a major religious city and home to a leading Shiite seminary in Iran.
There have been numerous reports in Iran that Rafsanjani will decide to announce his availability to stand as a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. There have been as many reports if not more denying such a possibility.
It is also not clear if Khatami will declare that he wants to run as a presidential candidate.
And if either or both did, it’s not clear that the Guardian Council would approve their candidacy (this is mandatory).
If Iran’s supreme leader is interested in saving his regime, he must listen to the advice of The Society of Seminary Teachers and Researchers.
This is especially true when it comes to Ayatollah Rafsanjani.
Rafsanjani as president could pull Iran out of its current economic and diplomatic quagmire. In 1988 Rafsanjani saved the regime by convincing Ayatollah Khomeini that the war against Iraq must stop. Rafsanjani did this despite the wishes and intense hostility of the powerful IRGC. Had he not succeeded, Iran could have ultimately lost the war. A Saddam victory would have culminated in the regime being toppled by his forces.
Rafsanjani as president could prepare the ground for rapprochement with the West in order to facilitate a deal over the nuclear program. He has the experience and the credibility. As president he could also start repairing the economy which has been ravaged by Ahmadinejad’s populist policies and sanctions. He has the experience, as he was in charge of repairing Iran’s economy after its devastating war against Iraq.
The key question is: if he decides to run, will the supreme leader approve his candidacy? For now this seems unlikely, much to the delight of the West.