One of the main obstacles for Reformist-minded and independent politicians in Iran has been the conservative-dominated Guardian Council, which vets candidates for elections. One of the most memorable moments of the Guardian Council was the mass disqualification of thousands of Reformists and independent candidates, including dozens of sitting parliamentarians, ahead of the 2004 elections. Perhaps attempting to pre-empt another move by the Guardian Council to disqualify candidates who would work constructively with his administration, President Hassan Rouhani has once again challenged the council’s role in elections.
During a speech Dec. 7, Rouhani said, “Someone said I have a special view of the Guardian Council [but] my view of the Guardian Council is a constitutional view. The constitution sees the Guardian Council as a supervisor and we also see it as a supervisor.” The last time Rouhani questioned the role of the Guardian Council was in a meeting with his Cabinet in August. He said that the council was a “supervisor, not an administrator,” and that the role of administering the elections was the duty of his government.