Tehran, Iran – Controversial former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has once again signed up to become Iran’s next president, but the top candidates expected in the June election have yet to register.
Ultraconservative, who was president from 2005 to 2013, tried to run again in 2017 but was disqualified by the Guardian Council – a constitutional watchdog consisting of six scholars and six legal experts.
Observers say a divider who still has followers among certain sections of the Iranian population is likely to be disqualified again.
Supreme Leader Ali Husseini promised Khamenei on Tuesday that the June 18 election would be a zero-sum election and that he would replace the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani after completing two terms.
Ahmadinejad enters Interior Ministry on Wednesday Second day of candidate registration, Surrounded by a crowd of his supporters – broke the COVID-19 protocol that allows candidates to go to the registration area with only one person.
Screaming and shouting slogans, some people entered the entrance and shook the staff of the Ministry of Home Affairs. After registration, Ahmadinejad waved to his enthusiastic supporters to climb a fence from outside
At a news conference following the registration, the former president, whose controversial re-election sparked the 2009 Green Movement and protests, expressed doubts about the legitimacy and popularity of the Iranian election in the years following his presidency. He said the presidential election has now become an “empty drum” and said authorities do not release transparent figures.
“If I am disqualified, I will not support the election and I will not vote,” he said, adding that the country’s government could not be determined by the current administration.
Expect more prominent conservatives
More than 59 million Iranians will be eligible to vote, according to election headquarters. However, similar to the February 2020 parliamentary elections, which saw the lowest turnout in at least 40 years, the presidential election is expected to be even lower.
Registration closed on Saturday afternoon and the main candidates for the upcoming elections have yet to officially register.
Ibrahim Raisi, the head of the judiciary, is likely to be the top candidate in the report, with widespread support from assistant conservative politicians. Parliamentary Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf has told lawyers he will not run and will support Raisi. Both men failed against Rouhani in 2017.
On Wednesday, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Amir Hossain Ghaziadeh Hashemi registered to run for president.
Rostam Gashemi, who is in charge of the petroleum ministry under Ahmadinejad, and Mohammad Abbasi, the sports and labor minister of two different Ahmadinejad presidents, have also registered. Former President Agriculture Minister Sadeg Khalian – who was disqualified in both 2017 and 2013 – also signed.
The election headquarters said 557 people tried to register on Tuesday, most of them conservatives and extremists.
The struggle of the reformists
No prominent reformist has yet signed up, and it is unclear whether there will be an effective candidate for the bound reformists.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voted in favor of the reformists and announced that he would not run in the election.
“Now that the friends concerned are convinced of my candidacy, I urge them to focus on their priorities which are to safeguard our internal strengths and national interests and to get rid of the harsh US sanctions,” he wrote in an online post. In the context of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers to restore.
Hardliners have beaten Zarif for the past two weeks A confidential audio tape of an internal interview with him was leaked In the tape in late April, he explicitly discusses the dynamics of the Islamic Republic’s power and mentions how he was assassinated by the United States in January and had to repeat diplomacy for the management and politics of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Major General Qasim Solaimani. 2020.
Ali Larijani, a former speaker of parliament who broke the 25-year-old Sino-Iranian cooperation agreement, could be a candidate, the report said.
Prominent reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh has said he will register on Friday, but a recent unilateral announcement by the Guardian Council could prevent Ahmadinejad from running for office because of the controversy surrounding his re-election results.
Last week, the council abruptly set new conditions for candidates, a move that some criticized as illegal. It states that candidates must be between the ages of 40 and 75, have no criminal background – including dissent – and show documents showing a minimum of four years of senior executive leadership experience.