Former Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani registers as a possible presidential candidate | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Former Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani registers as a possible presidential candidate

Former Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani shows his identification document to media beside a portrait of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while registering his name as a candidate for the June 28 presidential elections at the Interior Ministry in Tehran, Iran, Friday, May 31, 2024. Larijani registered Friday as a possible candidate in the Islamic Republic's presidential election to replace the late Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this month with seven others. (AP Photo)
Original Publication Date May 30, 2024 - 11:11 PM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A former speaker of Iran's parliament registered Friday as a possible candidate in the Islamic Republic's June 28 presidential election to replace the late Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this month with seven others.

Ali Larijani is the first high-profile candidate to register for the contest. He and other serious contenders against Raisi had been barred from running in the 2021 election.

Larijani, 66, is viewed as a conservative within Iran's narrow political scene. However, he has increasingly allied himself with former President Hassan Rouhani, whose administration reached a 2015 nuclear deal with a group of world powers. Larijani had positioned himself as a pragmatic candidate in the 2021 vote in which hard-liner Raisi, a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was elected.

Larijani had posted online and made comments in recent days all but confirming he would be a candidate. The Larijani family has long been powerful in Iran's Shiite theocracy.

“Solving the issue of sanctions for an economic opening will be among the priorities of diplomacy” for Iran, Larijani told journalists.

Later Friday, former Iranian Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati, who also ran in the 2021 presidential election, registered. Hemmati, 67, told journalists: “Today, I still hope for the future.”

"Nothing is more important than the livelihood and welfare of the noble people of Iran,” he added.

All candidates must be approved by Iran’s 12-member Guardian Council, a panel of clerics and jurists ultimately overseen by Khamenei. That panel has never accepted a woman or anyone calling for radical change within the country’s governance.

Who all will run — and potentially be accepted — remains in question. The country’s acting president, Mohammad Mokhber, a previously behind-the-scenes bureaucrat, could be a front runner because he has already been seen meeting with Khamenei. Also discussed as possible aspirants are former hard-line President Mohammad Ahmadinejad and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, but whether they would be allowed to run is another question.

The five-day registration period will close on Tuesday. The Guardian Council is then expected to issue its final list of candidates within 10 days. That will allow for a shortened two-week campaign before the vote in late June.

The new president will take office while the country is enriching uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and is hampering international inspections. Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine and launched a drone and missile attack on Israel during the war in Gaza. It also has continued arming proxy groups in the Middle East such as Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia.

Meanwhile, Iran’s economy has faced years of hardship over its collapsing rial currency. Widespread protests have swept the country, most recently over the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody in September 2022 after being detained for allegedly violating Iran’s mandatory headscarf law. A U.N. panel said the Iranian government is responsible for the “physical violence” that led to Amini’s death.

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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