National Trust Party
The National Trust Party (Hezb-i Etemad-i Melli or NTP) was formed by Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karrubi, formerly of the Militant Clerics Society, in 2005 after Karrubi's failed presidential bid. Karrubi left the Militant Clerics to form the NTP in protest, after they decided to support the candidacy of reformist candidate Mostafa Moin. Karrubi talked after the election about the need for "Strong, powerful, inclusive parties must be formed to supervise institutions," and the need to work outside of an exclusively clerical organization. He suggested that his opinion might draw other members of the Militant Clerics to follow him. Karrubi continually played down potential divisions within reformists as a whole in Iran, saying that the NTP had no issues with other reformists. However, Karrubi and the NTP were extremely critical of other reformist parties in the 2008 Majlis election
Other prominent founders were former parliamentarians Javad Etaat, Elias Hazrati, Hojatoleslam Rasul Montajabnia, Abdul Hussein Moqtadai, Seyyed Reza Noruz-zadeh, and Abdolreza Sepahvand, as well as current legislators Javad Amini and Ismail Gerami-Moghaddam. The party was a supporter of more active diplomacy on the nuclear issue in 2005, but had taken a slightly more convervative line by 2008, NTP officials saying that internationl pressure would not dissuade Iran from pursuing its goals.
In the 2008 Majlis elections the NTP was treated more favorably than other reformist parties, such as the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), being allowed to field candidates in over 50 percent of Iran's constituencies. Karrubi described the winners of the Majlis elections to be competent and experienced, perhaps setting up a base of support among those currently supporting Ahmadinejad or moderates who split from the United Front of Principlists. Karrubi would not rule out another presidential bid in then up-coming elections in 2009. Karrubi and the NTP looked to suggest that other reformist parties, such as the IIPF were in fact radical anti-Islamic extremists during the 2008 Majlis elections. There had been speculation that reformist parties such as both the Militant Clerics Society and the NTP were both fearful of their position in a secular state, and that this required keeping more democracy oriented reformist parties in check. The NTP, unlike the Militant Clerics, had shown a desire to remain independant, not forming coalitions with other reformist parties.
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