Former President Hassan Rouhani's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi says Rouhani is not planning to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections in March 2024.
Vaezi on Saturday dismissed reports about Rouhani's plan to run for the Majles as a lie, and added in an interview with Rouydad24 news website that the former President's political rivals published many false reports about him during his Presidency.
Earlier, IRGC-linked Tasnim News Agency had claimed in a report that Rouhani was determined to run in the next election. Tasnim further claimed that Rouhani would try to name some of his aides as candidates for the Majles election, and that Rouhani holds weekly meetings with his aides in preparation for the next election.
The hardliner website charged that Rouhani was Iran's most unpopular President and opined that the failure of his economic policies continue to plague the country.
Vaezi told Rouydad24 that the Tasnim report was about Rouhani's meeting with his former officials on the Iranian New Year and it had nothing to do with the elections. He said that at the meeting Rouhani called for a high-turnout election that would boost the Islamic Republic's legitimacy, but he did not say a word about his own inclination to take part as a candidate.
"The current government has spread so much false information about the Rouhani administration while it has not successful in running the affairs of the state during the 20 months it has been in office,” Vaezi argued. He continued, "Wherever there is a success, they attribute it to the new government and as soon as they encounter a problem, they blame the Rouhani administration."
Former President Hassan Rouhani's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi
It is almost customary that Iranian governments blame their predecessors for their failures. For a long time, the government under President Rouhani blamed its predecessor, the Ahmadinejad government for the country's economic problems and diplomatic impasse with the United States and Europe.
Furthermore, throughout the past four decades Iranian presidents and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei kept blaming the pre-revolution monarchy for all of the country's problems. Most recently, Khamenei blamed the last Pahlavi king Mohammad Reza Shah for Iran's problems in a speech on March 21 more than 44 years after the downfall of monarchy and establishment of the Islamic Republic.
Ahmadinejad has also resorted to blaming his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami when chaos and inefficiency plagued his eight years in office from 2005 to 2013.
It would be fair to say that Rouhani's failures were to a degree caused by the United States withdrawing from the nuclear deal and imposing crippling economic sanctions in 2018. His subsequent attempts to reach a deal with the Biden administration were stopped in June 2021, before the presidential elections.
During the Rouhani administration, Ahmadinejad was vocal against Rouhani and Khamenei and harshly criticized Khamenei and his regime in open letters. However, the media have been speculating recently that he might have been silenced by security forces during the past months.
Last week his absence at a memorial service for the father of his former aide was quite eye-catching. Persian media outside Iran said he has been told by one of Khamenei's top intelligence officers to keep silent and stay away from public events. It is hard to verify the report about Ahmadinejad's undeclared house arrest, while other reports were accompanied by photos that showed him on holiday in Iran's Caspian region.
By far, Rouhani is the only former president whose dignity appears to be respected by Khamenei although some of his hardliner opponents are said to be determined to demand nothing less than his execution, said reformist figure Ali Soufi.