Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (left) and President Ebrahim Raisi

Iranian Analyst Predicts Head-On Collision Between Raisi, Ghalibaf

Thursday, 04/28/2022

Conservative political analyst and former editor of hardliner Kayhan, Mohammad Mohajeri, says a confrontation between Iran’s parliament speaker and the president is inevitable.

Mohajeri said in an interview with Nameh News website in Tehran that Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is more likely to prompt his supporters to harshly criticize President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration, and question and impeach his cabinet ministers.

Differences between the two politicians were fist revealed during the 2020- parliamentary elections, Mohajeri said, but finally they decided to present a shared list of candidates for the Iranian parliament (Majles). Although the measure temporarily put an end to increasing disputes between the two, rivalries and hard feelings appear to be still motivating the two politicians.

Mohajeri recounted that Ghaliobaf was initially planning to run for president in the June 2021 election but changed his mind as soon as he found out that Raisi was a candidate. So, he announced: "I will not nominate myself as a candidate if Mr. Raisi wishes to run."

Nonetheless, when Raisi won the presidential election, the share of cabinet seats he gave Ghalibaf was far less than what he offered the ultraconservative Paydari Party.

Although the Majles gave a good vote of confidence to the Raisi administration, gradually, disputes between Raisi and Ghalibaf escalated. The lawmakers are now adamant to impeach Labor Minister Hojjat Abdolmaleki and Industry Minister Reza Fatemi Amin, but it is evident that more cabinet ministers will be on the parliament's impeachment list, Mohajeri added.

Mohajeri explained that the differences between Ghalibaf and Raisi are rooted in the dispute between Paydari and Ghalibaf and the lawmakers' intervention in the government's executive affairs. There are a lot of disputes in the Majles with the government over the appointment of local and provincial governors, he said, adding that the situation is likely to escalate.

Stressing that a fight between Ghaliobaf and Raisi is inevitable, he pointed out: "Have no doubt about this. "

Recently, lawmaker Hossein Jalali revealed that the members of the parliament have discussed calling for the disqualification of Raisi on the grounds of his "incompetence" for the job. Jalali believes that impeaching the ministers is useless.

Meanwhile, in an extensive article about the differences between Ghalibaf and the Paydari Party, Rouydad24 website wrote that disputes might flare up between Ghalibaf and Raisi. Rouydad24 also wrote that in the controversy surrounding Ghalibaf's family shopping spree in Turkey, his supporters believed that an intelligence agency linked to the government had appointed "minders" to keep an eye on the Speaker's family's every move in Turkey. Some of Ghalibaf's supporters have also said that Paydari was behind the leaking of a damning tape which implicated Ghalibaf's involvement in a major financial corruption case, the report said.

The rivalry between Ghalibaf and Paydari members goes back to the 2013 presidential elections during which Ghalibaf represented his own "neo-con" group and former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was Paydari's candidate. At the time Paydari damaged Ghalibaf's reputation by saying that his positions on foreign policy were the same as Iran's reformists. Later, Paydari charged that Ghalibaf supported the nuclear deal with the United States while Supreme Leader Khamenei described the deal as an "absolute loss."

After that election, Paydari strongly opposed Ghalibaf's appointment as Tehran mayor. And in the current Majles, Paydari let him win the position of Speaker only after getting many concessions. Paydari's mouthpiece, the Raja News website continues its verbal attacks on Ghalibaf.

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