Taheri and Harandi were among the closest confidants of Khomeini and are among the highest ranking pro-regime mullahs within the clerical regime's religious hierarchy. Their decision not to run for the Assembly of Experts' election reflects the escalation of the unrivaled power struggle among ruling factions.
Taheri wrote to the Guardian Council several days ago and asked the Council not to reject the qualifications of the rival faction's candidates, particularly Mohammad Moussavi Kho'einiha and Abdollah Nouri.
Reports indicate that a number of candidates from Tehran province might possibly follow suit.
With the Assembly of Experts' elections only 11 days away, the power struggle is raging among the clerical regime's ruling factions. Mullahs' Leader Ali Khamenei, whose fate will be determined by the Assembly of Experts, declared last week that undermining the state's foundations in people's minds was tantamount to "conspiracy, treason and attempt to overthrow." Two days earlier, Rafsanjani lent support to Khamenei and endorsed the Guardian Council's actions to disqualify a number of candidates.
Despite Khamenei's appeals in the past several days for active participation in the elections, Khatami - nearly all of whose supporters have been eliminated from the list of candidates - continued his silence on the matter.
According to press reports, leaders of Khamenei's faction have said that they would rather go through four months of tension by Khatami's faction over the elimination of its candidates than face enormous problems created by allowing the rival faction to win seats in the Assembly of Experts during its eight-year-term.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
October 12, 1998