Moderates are protesting against the systematic “withdrawal” of reformist candidates while conservatives and extremists dominate the field.
Tehran, Iran – The best candidates to become Iran’s next president registered on the last day of registration on Saturday and the overwhelming majority were conservatives, prompting a backlash from the moderate government.
Ebrahim Raisi, the current conservative head of the judiciary, is seen by analysts as most likely to become Iran’s eighth president in the June 18 elections.
In a statement hours before reporting to the Home Office to register, Raisi, 60, said he wanted to form a “People’s Government for a Strong Iran” that would fight corruption and improve performance. country’s economy – which has been hit hard. US sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“God, you are a witness that I have never sought a position or power, and even at this point I entered the field despite personal will and interests, and only to serve my duty to respond to people and to elites and to create hope, “wrote the man who is often cited as the next supreme leader when Ali Khamenei die.
Raisi, former attorney general and guardian of prominent Astan Quds Razavi in Mashhad who was sanctioned by the United States in 2019 for human rights violations, enjoys strong support from a wide range of conservatives and supporters. of the hard line.
Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and former Foreign Minister Saeed Jalili did not register to support Raisi. Raisi and Ghalibaf both clashed unsuccessfully against incumbent President Hassan Rouhani in 2017, but Raisi managed to garner 38% of the vote, or just under 16 million.
Promises “ à la Superman ”
More than 59 million Iranians are eligible to vote this year, but turnout is expected to be low amid public disillusionment and continued economic hardship.
On Saturday, Ali Larijani, a former adviser to the supreme leader, who recently negotiated the 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement between China and Iran, became the last key candidate to sign.
The former speaker of parliament said the country needed more than “populist and Superman-type” promises in its current tough times, and expressed hope that the negotiations underway in Vienna to restore its nuclear deal will continue. 2015 with the world powers would lead to the lifting of unilateral American sanctions.
First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri registered and reformist Mohsen Hashemi, the current chairman of Tehran city council and the eldest son of the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also signed.
He was followed by lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian, former transport minister Abbas Akhoundi, and Abolhassan Firouzabadi, the head of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace who is subject to US sanctions for participating in internet censorship.
“Deletion” of the candidate
Since registration opened on Tuesday, other prominent candidates who have registered include former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Saeed Mohammad, former Defense Minister Saeed Dehghan, former oil minister Rostam Ghasemi and reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh.
Most reformists should be disqualified by the Conservative Guardian Council – made up of six academics directly appointed by the Supreme Leader and six jurists indirectly influenced by him. The board now has until May 27 to announce its final slate of qualified candidates.
Last week, the council unilaterally proclaimed a series of new conditions for the elections that some observers have deemed illegal. Among other things, he said candidates must be between the ages of 40 and 75, have no criminal history – including political dissent – and be able to prove at least four years of senior leadership experience. direction.
On Thursday, the government released a statement that tacitly criticized Reformers being purged, while Tories and extremists dominate the field, which it said would hurt voter confidence.
“The government is deeply convinced that unity finds meaning in participation, not in withdrawal,” he said.