The Guardian Council, the top vetting body of Iran, announced that the reviewing procedure of candidates registered for the upcoming elections had been completed. As a result of the intense examination, only seven candidates were found eligible for the June 18 presidential elections, the Council said.
Being responsible for supervising the voting process and vetting candidates, the Guardian Council issued a statement on Tuesday. According to the statement, only 7 candidates out of 592 applications met the criteria to run in the elections. The Council’s spokesperson Abbas Ali Kodkhodaei announced that the list, including the names of the approved candidates, had been sent to the Interior Ministry. Kodkhodaei did not reveal any names and said that the list would be announced by the Interior Ministry in the coming days.
However, the Iranian semi-official news agency published a leaked list of the approved candidates. According to this leaked list, the names approved for the presidential elections are judiciary chief Ebrahim Raeisi, former top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezaei, head of Iran’s Central Band Abdolnaser Hemmati, Deputy Parliament Speaker Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh, former vice president Mohsen Mehralizadeh, and former lawmaker Alireza Zakani.
Considering the aforementioned list, it was drawn attention that prominent reformist candidates such as Ishaq Jahangiri, the first deputy of President Rouhani, are not on the list. Alongside Jahangari, former President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, and former IRGC commander Saeed Mohammed were other heavyweight nominees who have been disqualified by the Guardian Council.
Following the closure of the registration process, a debate erupted speculating that some key reformist and conservative candidates might be faced with disqualification due to new criteria announced by the Guardian Council. This new regulation brings new terms such as candidates must be between 40 and 75 years of age, must hold a master’s degree or its equivalent, and must have at least 4-year experience of management in state organizations. President Rouhani’s office issued a statement calling the Interior Ministry to dismiss the guideline on the grounds that it is against Iranian laws.
The Iranian presidential election will be held amid a fragile environment in which the negotiations between Iran and world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are ongoing in Vienna. The conservatives, which are seen as well-positioned for the upcoming elections, had opposed the signing of the JCPOA. Besides, ongoing backchannel talks with Saudi Arabia is another mystery in the sense of how Rouhani’s successor would handle the situation.
As the presidential election is approaching, the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called for a high turnout at the polls without pointing out any candidate. However, some analysts have raised their concerns regarding the possibility of a low turnout due to the disqualification of some key reformists.