Numerous state media outlets in Iran have reported in recent days that there is a new campaign manager for one of the presidential candidates in the upcoming elections that are due to take place next month. Alarmingly, this new campaign manager is one of the main people responsible for the attacks on the Saudi embassy and consulate in Iran in 2016. 

The news was confirmed by the first vice-president of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri. He said that Hassan Kerd Meehan is now the campaign manager for Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, who is one of the front runners for these elections. 

Hassan Kerd Meehan is an extremist cleric and a hardline preacher. He is also the director of several religious institutions in Karaj and Tehran and he was involved in the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad. Fires in the buildings were sparked after people threw petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails at them. 

Kerd Meehan was arrested by authorities in Iran on suspicion of being behind the attack on the Saudi embassy in Iran’s capital city, however he was released in October last year. 

The report was confirmed by Jahangiri during the first ever presidential debate that was televised live. He made the comment after he was asked who he thought was behind the attacks on the Saudi missions last January.

He said that those responsible are working for the current presidential campaign. “The Saudi Embassy’s attackers are working in one of the candidate’s election campaigns as you know. We also know very well as who financed the groups that attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran.” 

He added: “Those same extremists are responsible for driving away 700,000 Saudi Shiite tourists to Iran after diplomatic relations between the two countries were cut off because of the attack.” 

There has been a lot of talk in Iranian media about the upcoming elections in the country, and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that he does not want any of the candidates to look outside of the borders of Iran for solutions to the country’s economic problems. More specifically, he does not want any assistance from the West. 

However, many of the candidates have said that although they agree that it would be preferable to avoid contact with the west regarding the economic issues, they believe that there is no choice in the matter. The economic situation in Iran is critical and it seems certain that the problems cannot be solved internally.