SPIEGEL: Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, 67, is now running for the office of Iranian president. To which political camp do you assign Mousavi?
SPIEGEL: We have heard relatively little about Mousavi in many years. What prompted him to get back into politics?
Atrianfar: He said recently that he had the feeling that the country would be ruined if the mismanagement of the current administration continued. He is running to protect Iran, the Revolution and the system from decline.
Atrianfar: Their conflict goes back almost 30 years. The issue, at the time, was the distribution of authority between then-Prime Minister Mousavi and then President Khamenei. But now an election victory for Mousavi will put an end to the party infighting that was aggravated by Mohammed Khatami's candidacy. The religious leadership will undoubtedly welcome this easing of tensions. Besides, when it comes to issues of culture and foreign policy, Khamenei has more in common with Mousavi than with Khatami.
SPIEGEL: Former President Khatami withdrew his candidacy on Tuesday after Mousavi submitted his.
Atrianfar: Khatami had a very strong chance of winning. He did not withdraw out of fear of defeat. However, many claimed that his candidacy was causing tensions. As a responsible politician, he sacrificed himself by withdrawing, for the good of the country. Of course, the personal risks he was about to undertake were also clear to him. His opponents tried to ruin his reputation. He even had to fear for his life.
SPIEGEL: Do you see signs of religious leader Khamenei distancing himself from his protege Ahmadinejad?
Atrianfar: The leadership does not support any of the candidates directly. There are people close to Khamenei who promote one candidate and reject the other. When Khatami was the candidate, these men favored Ahmadinejad. These people have no problem with a candidate like Mousavi. I believe that it makes no difference to the leadership whether Ahmadinejad wins once again or Mousavi prevails. The religious leaders will welcome either one.
Correction Notice: A sentence in the final response from Mr. Atrianfar was incorrectly translated and stated that "three close associates of Khamenei promote one candidate and reject the other." The error has been corrected.
Interview conducted by Dieter Bednarz. Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan.
Stay informed with our free news services:
|All news from SPIEGEL International||Twitter | RSS|
|All news from World section||RSS|
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2009
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH