- Title: IRAN: Iran's most liberal candidate campaigns for presidential votes
- Date: 5th June 2009
- Summary: TEHRAN, IRAN (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF YOUNG FEMALE CAMPAIGNER HANDING OUT YELLOW PAMPHLETS SUPPORTING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MEHDI KAROUBI YELLOW WRIST BAND BEING WRAPPED AROUND A YOUNG MAN'S WRIST VARIOUS OF KAROUBI SUPPORTERS HOLDING POSTERS AND PLACARDS READING: (Farsi) "Mehdi Karoubi" (SOUNDBITE) KAROUBI SUPPORTER ELHAM SANJARI SAYING: "Mr. Karoubi... because he is the only one who I think can make a change in this country." POSTER OF KAROUBI HUNG ON WALL KAROUBI'S WIFE FATEMEH (SOUNDBITE) KAROUBI SUPPORTER AFSHIN FARHADI SAYING: "He has always whole-heartedly defended political student prisoners, and student communities have always supported him." YOUNG WOMAN HOLDING PLACARD READING: (Farsi) "Mehdi Karoubi" YOUNG WOMAN WITH YELLOW FLOWER IN HAIR CHEERING VARIOUS OF SUPPORTERS HOLDING POSTERS UP POSTER OF KAROUBI VARIOUS OF SUPPORTERS HOLDING POSTERS UP/CHEERING IN CAMPAIGN HALL
- Embargoed: 20th June 2009 10:30
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAE4IOHLJ1NWLWYSGPWPEIMFFGC
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Former Iranian reformist parliament speaker, Mehdi Karoubi, lobbies to buy student votes ahead of the June 12 election.
Mehdi Karoubi, the most liberal of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's three opponents in a June 12 election, is trying to expand his power base among reform-minded Iranians.
The young support-base of the former parliament speaker have plastered the Iranian capital with posters proclaiming Karoubi's dedication to fighting social injustice and poverty.
"Mr. Karoubi... because he is the only one who I think can make a change in this country," said one young female supporter, Elham Sanjari.
Karoubi, a moderate, mid-ranking cleric, has his own rural backers, but is likely to garner most of his votes from women, young people and intellectuals who fear damage to the economy and more curbs on social freedom if the hardline president Ahmadinejad is re-elected.
"He has always whole-heartedly defended political student prisoners, and student communities have always supported him," said a young student, Afshin Farhadi.
Karoubi has renewed his 2005 presidential campaign pledge to give shares of Iran's oil income to everyone aged over 18, but has not revealed the size of the handout or how it will be paid.
The idea parallels Ahmadinejad's vow to put some oil wealth on the table of each Iranian family -- a promise the president says he has helped to fulfil via the cash, loans and projects he has distributed in the provinces over the last four years.
An activist in the 1979 Islamic revolution, Karoubi switched to the reformist camp when President Mohammad Khatami was in power from 1997-2005. But some of those who had hoped for radical change blame him, as well as Khatami, for failing to stand up to Iran's hardline religious establishment.
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