On Tuesday, the registration process for prospective candidates for Iran’s presidential election, which will be held in June, has started. The election is expected to lead to a tight race between reformists and conservatives. The registration started amid COVID-19 restrictions. Many familiar and unfamiliar candidates registered to challenge for becoming the next president of the Islamic Republic in the upcoming election.
Former military official Saeed Mohammed was among the candidates who registered on the first day of the process. It was seen that Saeed Mohammad arrived at a registration center in Tehran with his supporters. Speaking to reporters, Mohammad indicated that he would contest as an independent candidate. The former military official was tried to be convinced by conservatives to become their consensus candidate.
On the other hand, the most important development was that Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi announced his candidacy. The candidature of Raeisi is expected to have repercussions among conservatives. Raeisi, who campaigned against President Hassan Rouhani in the 2017 elections, is considered the conservatives’ top choice.
Former IRGC Chief Mohsen Rezaei, former Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, former Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari are other key candidates who have previously announced their candidature. It is expected that they will complete their registration in the coming days.
Additionally, there have been speculations claiming that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif could appear as a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. A coalition among reformists considers Zarif as the best choice. However, there has been no solid indication in this regard.
The registration process will last for five days. Following the closure of the process, the candidates will be taken under close examination to determine whether they are eligible to attend elections by the Guardian Council.
Currently, Iran has been facing a dispute between the Guardian Council and President Rouhani regarding the criteria for candidates. The disagreement occurred through a new set of criteria for a candidacy that was announced by the Guardian Council days prior to the starting of the registration process. President Rouhani opposed the new guidelines announced by the Council and directed the Interior Ministry, the body responsible for conducting elections, to dismiss the guideline, saying it is against the country’s law.
When the new criteria are examined, it is seen that the candidates must be between 40 and 75 years of age, must hold a master’s degree or its equivalent, must have at least a 4-year experience of management in state organizations, or should have served as a minister, or governor of cities with two-plus million population, or have been a top commander of the armed forces with the rank of major general or higher. It also stipulates that the candidates should not have any criminal record or jail history.