Iran Approves Six Candidates To Run For June 28 Presidential Election

Iran Approves Six Candidates To Run For June 28 Presidential Election

Following a helicopter crash that killed Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and seven others on May 19, the country’s Guardian Council on Sunday approved the country’s hard-line parliament speaker and five others to run in the June 28 presidential election.

Once again, the council has barred former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a populist known for the crackdown after his disputed 2009 re-election, from running. He is also remembered for challenging Khamenei and the crackdown on the 2009 Green Movement.

The approval of candidates for the election marks the beginning of a two-week campaign to replace Raisi, a hard-line protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guardian Council, a panel of clerics and jurists overseen by Khamenei, hopes to smooth the election process amid tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and the Israel-Hamas war.

The council continued its trend of not approving any women or candidates calling for significant governance changes. The campaign will likely feature televised debates and other traditional campaign activities, though candidates have yet to offer specifics on their platforms. They all promise economic improvement despite sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.

The most prominent candidate is Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf, 62, a former Tehran mayor with ties to the Revolutionary Guard. Qalibaf’s history includes a crackdown on students in 1999 and ordering live gunfire against students in 2003. He ran for president in 2005 and 2013, and supported Raisi in 2017.

Qalibaf’s role in past crackdowns may be scrutinised differently after recent unrest, including protests following Mahsa Amini’s death in 2022.

This election comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West, partly due to Iran’s support for Russia in its war on Ukraine and its backing of Middle Eastern militias.

Raisi’s helicopter crash is still under investigation with no signs of foul play so far.

Melissa Enoch

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