Khamenei prefers the young and the restless

27 May 2005

When Rafsanjani finally announced he would run for president, many in Tehran knew he had just left a private meeting with Khamanei, the Supreme Leader. This, to many, was a sign that Khamanei not only supported Rafsanjani's bid, but also endorsed him as his favorite candidate.

To me, however, it was a bit in conflict with what Khamenei had been saying for long, that the next president must be someone 'young and energetic' who can inject fresh blood into the executive of the regime. He even went as far to say this while Rafsanjani was sitting next to him, a bit annoyed, during a speech for some influential clerics.

Awkwardness: 70-year-old Rafsanjani on the left

It was pretty clear to me that Ali Larijani, a rather young (48), educated and innovative beaurocrat who ran state TV and radio for a decade, was Khamenei's favorite. But Rafsanjani's announcement and some of the rumors I was hearing from Tehran were a bit puzzling.

I can again now say that Khamenei still thinks the same way about Rafsanjani.

In his latest speech during a public meeting with young students, in addition to stressing on the necessity of a high turnout, Khamanei again said that because the country is young, its government must also be young.

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