Miércoles, 18 Julio, 2018

The race to be Iran's next president kicks off

Ahmadinejad submits name for Iran presidential election The race to be Iran's next president kicks off
Eleena Tovar | 21 Abril, 2017, 16:40

Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has filed to run in the May presidential election.

He also expressed satisfaction with his foreign policy attainments and said as he had pledged during his presidential campaign in 2013, he has taken steps to improve relations with the world and to interact constructively with the western countries.

"The nuclear deal is a legal document and a pact".

Human rights campaigners say there have been few, if any, moves to bring about greater social freedoms as Rouhani's main focus has been boosting the sanctions-damaged economy.

Every president since the early 1980s has won a second term, and Rouhani has done much to maintain his alliance of moderates and reformists - stabilising the economy and signing a landmark nuclear deal with world powers that ended many sanctions and promised a fresh start with the global community. The clerical Guardian Council will vet the candidates and publish the final list on April 27, removing most dissidents. The council controls elections and must approve all laws passed by parliament.

Vilified in the West for his barbs against America and Israel and questioning of the Holocaust, the blacksmith's son Ahmadinejad has upset predictions before by stealing the show in 2005 when he defeated powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a run-off vote. The panel also declared Ahmadinejad won the 2009 election despite widespread fraud allegations.

Crucially, Khamenei picked him in March 2016 to head Astan Qods Razavi - the centuries-old foundation that looks after the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad - placing him at the intersection of political, religious and economic power. Both Mr Raisi and his father-in-law have seats on the Assembly of Experts that will choose the next supreme leader - a position for which Mr Raisi himself is often rumoured to be in the running. He has held several sensitive jobs in the Islamic Republic, including representing Khamenei for 25 years at the Supreme National Security Council. Baghaei, who was imprisoned for seven months after he left office, registered alongside Ahmadinejad on Wednesday.

Many Iranian news outlets had been predicting that the presidential race would fundamentally pit Rouhani, the incumbent, against Raeesi, the challenger favored by hard-liners. Security forces answering only to the supreme leader also routinely arrest dual nationals and foreigners, using them as pawns in global negotiations.