Iran's Reformist Council for Policymaking announced March 12 that it would be supporting incumbent moderate President Hassan Rouhani — approximately two months before the country's presidential election. Mohammad Reza Aref, a parliamentarian and the head of the council, said that in a meeting in which all of the members were present, they took a vote and agreed to support Rouhani for his second term.
At the time, the story was not widely covered — supporting an incumbent candidate is not necessarily breaking news. And Reformists have essentially acquiesced to the power of the hard-line Guardian Council and no longer run their most popular and well-known names. So, throwing their support behind Rouhani once again was not a difficult choice, especially given the alternatives. Journalist and Reformist activist Mohammad Javad Hassar said to BBC Persian that despite their criticisms of the Rouhani administration, they will support him "to prevent a tragedy in the name of Ahmadinejad." He clarified that he meant the mentality that former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought to office.