An Asre Iran editorial following the disqualification of Rafsanjani is trying to assess Rafsanjani’s political behavior, following his disqualification, during the elections. The editorial states that he will definitely not confront the Guardian Council since he has status and prestige in the regime, and this requires that he behave in a respectful, dignified manner and not cause problems for the regime. Head of his headquarters, Esahak Jangiri, said that Rafsanjani and his headquarters would not express any form of protest. Under these circumstances, and assuming, at the order of the regime, that Rafsanjani will not return to the arena, two scenarios are possible:
- Silence: Opting for political silence or not adopting any stance following his disqualification is a reasonable possibility. In this situation, nothing will be heard from Rafsanjani until elections day when he comes to vote. This scenario minimizes his influence on the elections.
- Change in strategy: Rafsanjani progressed up until now based on a strategy of “presence in the arena,” but under these new circumstances, he may change the strategy to one of “management of the arena.” According to this premise, Rafsanjani will bring together Hassan Rouhani, Mohammad Reza Araf (candidates closest to the reformist camp) and apparently Mohammad Araci, and will demand that they choose one as a final candidate. The two others will withdraw in favor of the selected candidate. It is highly likely that the selected candidate will be Hassan Rouhani, whose positions are extremely close to those of Rafsanjani and is called by many as the “new Hashemi.” Surveys also show a very high voting percentage in favor of Rouhani. Based on this premise, we can expect that some of the wave generated for Hashemi will now move towards the “alternative to Hashemi” and will change the balance of power in the elections, although it cannot be expected that anyone who would have voted for Rafsanjani would vote for Rouhani. Hassan Rouhani, unlike Araf, has the potential to draw some of the conservative votes in addition to the reformist votes. It is more reasonable to assume that Hashemi will choose the second behavioral option.