Campaigning on for crucial Iran vote
A former Iranian president and a former revolutionary guardsman have continued their bids for the presidency ahead of the second round elections on Friday.
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2005 14:52 GMT
Ahmadinejad has appealed to the working-class electorate
A former Iranian president and a former revolutionary guardsman have continued their bids for the presidency ahead of the second round elections on Friday.

The unexpected run-off will pitch cleric Akbar Rafsanjani against Tehran mayor Mahmood Ahmadinejad.

The 48-year-old Ahmadinejad has shown that he has significant support among the urban and rural religious poor who view him as honest, hard-working and committed to their cause.
"On one side there are almost all parties, powerful political figures and owners of great capital," the Kayhan newspaper, which is backing Ahmadinejad, wrote on Wednesday.
"And on the other side there are millions of people who finally believe they can have one of their own as president."
Fear factor

"The fear factor is getting very intense"

Mahmoud Alinejad,
political analyst

But the prospect of an Ahmadinejad victory has prompted various groups of politicians, students, clerics and academics to endorse Rafsanjani, who was president from 1989 to 1997.
"The fear factor is getting very intense," said political analyst Mahmoud Alinejad, who said some people were reacting to overblown scare stories - such as rumours that Ahmadinejad would enforce segregation of the sexes.
But Alinejad said an Ahmadinejad victory would likely cement the control by conservative clerics in the Guardian Council over Iran's dual system of democratic and theocratic institutions.

"The danger is that, for the first time, there wouldn't be any moderating, balancing factor in the system," said Alinejad. 

Meanwhile, the 70-year-old Rafsanjani is deemed by Western politicians and media as a moderate better able to resolve Iran's problems, including accusations that it is building nuclear weapons. 

Rafsanjani's supporters say their
candidate is more moderate

"I believe that confrontation with the United States can be turned into interaction. It is better to have interaction," he said in an interview on state television on Tuesday night.
Ahmadinejad, in contrast, has criticised the passivity of Iran's current foreign policy and said that resuming relations which Washington broke off in 1980 would not solve Iran's woes.
He has also denounced the stock market as akin to gambling and complained that officials were not doing enough to protect the country from Western cultural values.
Rafsanjani support

And third-placed cleric Mehdi Karroubi, who exchanged bitter words with Supreme Leader Ayat Allah Ali Khamenei over alleged vote fraud, called on his supporters to back Rafsanjani. 
"Go and vote. Otherwise they are going to make an Iranian Taliban here."

"The fanatics are coming, and people are not going to enjoy peace and security any longer," he said on Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad says allegations he would enforce strict Islamic moral codes if elected are merely baseless smears.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.