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Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran)

The Executives of Construction Party (Hezb-e Kaargozaaraan-e Saazandegi) was founded by ministers from the cabinet of one-time President Hashemi Rafsanjani. As of 2004 Gholamhoseyn Karbaschi was Secretary-general of the party. It was founded as a pragmatist party in part by Rafsanjani's brother Mohammad Hashemi-Bahremani.

Very much a moderate pro-Rafsanjani political party, its alliance with reformists in 1999 under the 2nd Khordad Front, led to observers suggesting that it was reformist as well. The Executives are a party primarily concerned with economic policy and globalization, stances Rafsanjani used as the basis for his unsuccessful campaign for President in 2005. The party also supported industrial development, and working conditions. The party membership has many of Iran's technocrats, and had supported other moderates and reformists in prior elections, including that of Mohammad Khatami.

Campaigning for Majles elections was not officially permitted until two weeks prior to the elections, which were scheduled for March 14, 2008. The electoral list of the centrist Rafsanjani-affiliated Executives of Construction party includes prominent figures such as former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani, former Iranian ambassador to France Sadegh Kharrazi, and Rafsanjani's brother Mohammad Hashemi, among others. Political scientist Farideh Farhi posited in a November editorial that this "powerful" electoral list is intended to make it difficult for the Guardian Council to disqualify its candidates since many are former government officials and key policymakers.

The newspaper Kargozaran was the press organ of the Executives of Construction. The Iranian government closed the newspaper on December 31, 2008 for publishing a commentary by the Office of Consolidating Unity, Iran's largest student group, "justifying the anti-human crimes of the Zionist regime" and denouncing Hamas actions as terrorism. The relevant passage follows: "Today's crimes by Israel in Gaza should be strongly condemned. But to the same extent, terrorists hiding among schools and hospitals and non-combatants should also be condemned and be considered an anti-humanitarian movement. "

The closure of Kargozaran and Hamshahri's evening edition and the arrests or interrogations of various bloggers by the IRIG has had a chilling effect among reformist newspapers. Most reform-oriented publications lacked the political connections to protect themselves.

In analyses of Iran's domestic politics, Kargozaran, is generally regarded as a Reformist party. Observers distinguishe between Kargozaran and the orthodox faction of the Reformist front which is closer to former president Mohammad Khatami. With their pragmatist approach, Kargozaran would have doubts if Reformist figures should be slated as flagship candidates in the parliamentary elections.

Pragmatism is the main point of difference between Kargozaran and their Reformist partners. For Kargozaran, alliance is always an option. But the Reformist front is less inclined towards coalition with other political groups, unless space for political maneuver is significantly limited or there is no chance for direct participation in political competitions.




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