Iran's former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi today announced his candidacy for the June 12 presidential election. "I announce my intention to run in the 10th presidential election hoping to fulfil my duty," he said in a statement carried by the ISNA and Fars news agencies. A reputed moderate, Mr Mousavi was prime minister from 1981 to 1989 under the presidency of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is now the Islamic republic's supreme leader.
Mr Mousavi was the last to serve as premier, a post which was scrapped in Iran's revised constitution. His decision to stand pitches him against reformist former president Mohammad Khatami, Mehdi Karroubi, who is also a reformer, and incumbent hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has yet to formally declare his candidacy. All candidates bidding for the presidency have to register with the interior ministry during a five-day period starting on May 5. They will then be screened by the Guardians Council, a powerful 12-member vetting body.
Mr Mousavi said the "value of freedom should seriously be heeded at this very time". "I do not claim that goals could be reached merely by electing a person, but the general demand for a review of policies, expansion of the Islamic republic discourse and relying on its values could guarantee a change." He also covertly criticised Ahmadinejad's expansionist economic policies, saying "we have to avoid wasting resources for short-term interests and unworthy political aims."
But he praised the technological achievements made by Iran, especially in the nuclear field. "The nuclear technology is one of the examples of the achievements of our youth," he said. "If they felt humiliated against foreigners or felt they were not free to say, hear and choose, such achievements would not have happened." As premier, Mr Mousavi succeeded Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, who took over from Mohammad Javad Bahonar, who was killed with president Mohammad Ali Rajaei in a bomb attack by Iran's main armed opposition, the People's Mujahedeen.
Mr Mousavi, whose premiership coincided with the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, focused his efforts on domestic issues, especially the public sector in the state-dominated economy. * AFP