News ID: 90237
Publish Date : 15 May 2021 - 21:47
Principlists Prevail as Registration Ends
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Top candidates to become Iran’s next president signed up on the last day of registration on Saturday and the overwhelming majority were Principlists amid widespread discontent with the Reformist government.
Ebrahim Raisi, the current head of the judiciary, is considered by analysts most likely to become Iran’s eighth president in the June 18 elections.
In a statement hours before coming to the interior ministry to sign up, 60-year-old Raisi said he wants to form a "people’s government for a strong Iran” that would fight corruption and improve the country’s economy.
"God, you are witness that I have never been after position or power, and even at this stage I have entered the field despite personal will and interests, and only to serve my duty to answer the people and elites and create hope,” he wrote.
Raisi, a former attorney general and custodian of the Astan Quds Razavi in Mashhad who was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2019, enjoys strong backing from a wide range of Iranians.
"With all due respect for all the candidates and political groups, I have entered the scene… as an independent in order to bring about change in the country’s executive management and put up a relentless fight against poverty and corruption, humiliation and discrimination,” Raisi said.  
Parliament speaker Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf and former foreign minister Saeed Jalili also registered on a Principlist ticket. More than 59 million Iranians are eligible to vote this year.
On Saturday, former parliament speaker Ali Larijani became the latest key candidate to sign up.
He said the country needs more than "populistic and Superman-like” promises in its current difficult juncture, and expressed hope ongoing negotiations in Vienna would lead to the removal of unilateral U.S. sanctions.
First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri registered and reformist Mohsen Hashemi, the current chairman of the Tehran City Council and the eldest son of the late president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also signed up.
Jahangiri is the Reformists’ new wild ticket, after Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif announced on Wednesday that he would not be running.
 "I did not intend to run, and I had hoped there would be no need for me to. But, given the decision of my dear brother Dr. Javad Zarif not to run, and the inability of a number of others… to register, and with the Iranian reform front, Reformist leaders, and sympathetic figures, as well as many young people and political and civil activists recognizing that I should come to the scene… I refuse to shy away from accepting the responsibility,” Jahangiri said.
He was followed by lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian, former transport minister Abbas Akhoundi,
 and Abolhassan Firouzabadi, the head of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace.
Since registration opened on Tuesday, other prominent candidates who signed up include former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps member Saeed Muhammad, former defense minister Saeed Dehqan, former petroleum minister Rostam Qasemi, and reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh.
Saturday was the last day for candidates to sign up to run in the June 18 election, in a process that began on Tuesday.
Entrants are now to be screened for their political and Islamic qualifications by the 12-member Constitutional Council vetting body.  
President Hassan Rouhan cannot run again because of term limits.

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