Heavyweights Enter Iran Presidential Race

Hassan Rouhani (L) and Ibrahim Raeisi officially registered on Friday for the May 19 presidential election. Hassan Rouhani (L) and Ibrahim Raeisi officially registered on Friday for the May 19 presidential election.

Major contenders Hassan Rouhani and Ebrahim Raeisi filed paperwork to run for president at the Interior Ministry’s Election Headquarters in Tehran on Friday, heating up the May 19 presidential race.

Addressing reporters after registering to run, Rouhani said he has fulfilled the pledges he gave the Iranian nation during his 2013 presidential campaign.           

The incumbent president said safeguarding the landmark 2015 nuclear deal is one of the most important issues for the Iranian nation and opponents of the deal are not well-placed to take charge of its implementation, alluding to his conservative opponents.    

Rouhani won the 2013 race in the first round, supported by reformists and aided by a divided field of five conservative opponents.  

Raeisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) and former prosecutor general, threw his hat in the ring right after Rouhani on Friday.

He has topped the final five-member shortlist of the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, a recently-founded principlist coalition expected to play a big role in the presidential poll.

Other well-known applicants who registered on Friday include lawmakers Hassan Norouzi and Mostafa Kavakebian, former parliamentarian Alireza Zakani, reformist figure Mohammad Zare' Foumani, pro-government politician Amrollah Sheikhiaei, and prominent theological teacher Ayatollah Mohsen Gharavian.

On Thursday, the third day of registration, former oil and communications minister, Seyyed Mohammad Gharazi, former lawmaker Hassan Sobhani, Experts Assembly member Ayatollah Seyyed Hashem Bothaei Golpayegani signed up.

Masoud Zaribafan, a former head of the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs and former Tehran councilor, Mohammad Ali Pourmokhtar, a member of Majlis Judicial and Legal Affairs Commission and Mostafa Mirsalim, former minister of culture and Islamic guidance, had registered in the early days of the registration. Also on Wednesday, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed up to run, alongside his deputy Hamid Baqaei.

Ahmadinejad's registration caught Iranians by surprise, as he had announced several times that he will not run for president this year.

Over 1000 candidates have registered so far to run in next month's presidential election.


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