The main contenders for the Iranian presidency


The June 18 presidential election heats up as Iran’s chief justice Ebrahim Raisi and former parliament speaker Ali Larijani enter the race.

As Iran prepares for a presidential election next month, two prominent Tory candidates have announced their candidacy, Ebrahim Raisi and Ali Larijani.

The current president, Hassan Rouhani, described as a moderate in the context of the Islamic Republic of Iran, will not be allowed to run for a third consecutive term.

The last two candidates have close ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Approval from the Guardian Council, which will announce the approval list on May 27, is mandatory for presidential candidates for the next four-year term.

Iran’s Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi is a conservative politician who has been appointed chief justice of the country by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Raisi, 61, was born into a clerical family in the Noghan district of Mashhad, a place famous for religious pilgrimages.

He holds a master’s degree in private international law and a doctorate in “jurisprudence and fundamental principles of Islamic law” from Shahid Motahari University.

Ebrahim Raisi, Chief Justice of Iran, shows his ID as he registers as a presidential candidate at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran on May 15, 2021 (Reuters)

His religious upbringing in Qom established his credentials, one of the main places of learning for the Shia scholarship, and he was also the pupil of many famous Shia scholars.

After the Iranian revolution of 1979, he was a prosecutor in several cities of Iran.

In 1985 he was appointed deputy prosecutor of Tehran and in 1989 promoted to chief prosecutor of the capital.

He had worked as the head of the General Inspection Bureau in 1994 until he became Iran’s first deputy chief justice in 2004.

In 2014, he was appointed Attorney General of Iran, a post he held until 2016.

Raisi lost the 2017 presidential election to current President Rouhani as a candidate for the Popular Front of the Forces of the Islamic Revolution (JAMNA) and supported by other revolutionary factions.

He pledged to fight poverty and corruption, but lost the election to Rouhani.

With 99.7% of the ballots counted, Rouhani had 23.5 million votes (57%) against 15.8 million (38%) for Raisi, according to the final results.

However, he did not congratulate Rouhani on his re-election in 2017 and asked the Council of Guardians to verify violations before and during the election.

Raisi is also considered a potential successor to Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Former Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani

Ali Larijani, 64, is an Iranian conservative politician, philosopher and former military officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Larijani was Speaker of the Iranian Parliament from 2008 to 2020.

He was born in the prominent Iraqi religious center, the city of Najaf, to Iranian clerics. His parents left Iran for Najaf in 1931 because of pressure from then-ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi. He returned in 1961.

Ali Larijani, former speaker of the Iranian parliament, shows his ID as he registers as a presidential candidate for the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran, on May 15, 2021.

Ali Larijani, former speaker of the Iranian parliament, shows his ID as he registers as a presidential candidate for the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran on May 15, 2021 (Reuters)

Larijani holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from Aryamehr University of Technology, Tehran.

Later, he completed his Masters and Doctorate in Western Philosophy at the University of Tehran. Dr Larijani is also a lecturer at the School of Letters and Human Sciences at the University of Tehran.

He is a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards and served as Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and Information and Communications Technology.

In 1994, he was appointed to head Islamic Republic of Iran Radio, a state-controlled authority that controls national television and radio services in Iran, and served for ten years.

He contested the 2005 presidential election, however, he only got 5.94% of the vote – where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won with 61.69% of the vote.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Qom in 2008 and became Speaker of Parliament. He continued in this post for three consecutive terms until 2020.

Larijani claimed that other candidates would not be able to fix the economy, especially those with military and judicial backgrounds.

“The economy is neither a garrison nor a court which would be managed by shouts and orders”, Larijani mentionned after registering for the candidacy.

Source: TRT World


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