After a day of rumors and counter-rumors, it’s official: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ally Esfandiar Rahim Meshai and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani have been disqualified by the Guardian Council as candidates for the June 14 Iranian elections.The question some will be asking is: Why? After all, allowing Meshai and Rafsanjani to run would have added more legitimacy to the elections and more people would have turned out to vote. This would have given the Islamic Republic a much-needed boost to its foundering legitimacy.
While legitimacy is important to Iran's powers that be, what's more important is stability, especially at a time when the regime is facing increasing divisions as well as economic challenges. The rewards of allowing Meshai and Rafsanjani to run simply do not seem to have justified the high cost, as both would most likely have publicly questioned policies directly involving the domain of the supreme leader.