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25 May, 2021 14:15

Iran announces 7 approved candidates for upcoming elections, ex-president Ahmadihejad barred from running

Iran announces 7 approved candidates for upcoming elections, ex-president Ahmadihejad barred from running

Iran has approved the final list of candidates to compete in its upcoming presidential elections this June. Several prominent figures, however, including ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been barred from running.

The list of seven presidential hopefuls was unveiled by Iranian state media on Tuesday. The candidates have been picked from nearly 600 people who submitted their bids for approval. The list is dominated by political hardliners, including judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, believed to be a very close figure to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a favorite in the upcoming polls.

Raisi ran for president before, losing to the incumbent president, Hassan Rouhani, back in 2017 by a wide margin of nearly 20% of the votes. Rouhani is barred from running for office again due to legal limitations, as he has already served the maximum allowed two consecutive four-year terms.

A number of candidates, however, have been disqualified from standing in the June 18 presidential poll by the country’s Guardian Council, a 12-member panel directly under Khamenei. The list includes several political heavyweights, like hardliner Ahmadinejad, who served as Iran's president from 2005 to 2013, and conservative former parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani.

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Larjani has been considered by various analysts to be one of the main contenders for the election, able to take on Raisi. The politician has already signaled he would not contest the Guardian Council’s decision.

“I have done my duty before God and the dear nation, and I am satisfied,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to all those who expressed their gratitude and I hope you will participate in the elections for the promotion of an Islamic Iran.”

Ahmadinejad, so far, has not provided any reaction to the Council’s move. He has been at odds with the Supreme Leader since 2017 when the latter strongly advised him against running for office again. Ahmadinejad defied the warning, yet his bid was shot down by the Guardian Council.

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