Iran: Disqualified Presidential Candidates Will Further Alienate Population
Photos of the eight men approved today to run in Iran’s June 14 presidential election. Top left to right: Former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, former chief of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezai, Mohammad Qarazi and former chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. Bottom left to right: Former parliament speaker, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, former top nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani, former Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref and Tehran's Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. (AFP/Getty Images)
May 22, 2013
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa

Iranian officials approved just eight candidates -- all of them regime insiders -- to run in next month’s presidential election to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, excluding former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and others who are estranged from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The exclusions were a sign of the aggressive push by conservative clerics to consolidate their control of the country and prevent any more stirrings of a popular, democratic movement that could challenge them.
The qualification of the eight candidates was made by a 14-member body called the Guardian Council which is controlled by Khamenei. The Supreme Leader can overrule the council’s decision and add candidates to the election slate, but probably will not do so. Rafsanjani announced he will accept the council’s decision and will not appeal. Ahmadinejad said he will appeal the decision to exclude his aide, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie.
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