Who are the main candidates in Iran's presidential elections?

Explainer: Who are the main candidates in Iran's presidential elections?
3 min read
11 May, 2021
With the registration process for Iran’s election set to last five days, The New Arab provides a brief run-through of names to keep an eye on.
The candidates will be vetted by Iran's conservative-dominated Guardian Council [Getty]
Candidates for Iran's presidential elections - a process critics have long dismissed as a sham in the autocratic state - have begun registering their names for the 18 June polls.

With current President Hassan Rouhani unable to seek re-election having served two previous terms, Iran will have a new leader at the helm of a country beset with the economic legacy of crippling sanctions leading to sharply raised food prices and soaring unemployment.

The country is also battling the Middle East's deadliest outbreak of Covid-19.

Iran's incoming leader will also take control at a time of shifting regional and global dynamics.

The remaining parties of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are holding talks in Vienna aimed at bringing the US back into the landmark agreement, raising the prospect a post-sanctions economic boom.

At the same, Iranian, and Saudi officials have reportedly been in talks to potentially end years of enmity worsened by proxy wars which have pitted governments and militias against each other.

The idea of rapprochement, dismissed by some as fanciful, was captured by comments of the Saudi Crown Prince, who described Iran as a 'good' and 'neighbouring' country.

With the registration process for Iran's election set to last five days, after which candidates' suitability for the role will be vetted by the powerful Guardian Council, The New Arab provides its readers with a quick run-through of names to keep an eye on.

Read also: Iran candidates register for presidential election

Ebrahim Raisi

Iranian media speculate that hardline cleric and judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi will announce his candidacy on Thursday.

Despite being defeated in 2017 elections, US-sanctioned Raisi is seen as a staunch loyalist by a parliament dominated by hardliners and has even been tipped to succeed Khomeini as Iran's future supreme leader.

Saeed Mohammad

Earlier on Tuesday, Saeed Mohammed, the former head of an large construction and engineering firm owned by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, signed up to run in the presidential elections.

Mohammad who is part of the military establishment, holds the rank of brigadier general and serves as a commander to Major General Hossein Salami.

Hassan Nami

Hassan Nami, who once served as telecommunications minister under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinjead, has also put his name forward.

The former military general holds a doctorate in state management from North Korea, but has said he will drop out of the race if judiciary chief Raisi decides to run.

Mohammed Javad Zarif

Iran's top diplomat reportedly ruled out a presidential run on Monday. Yet observers speculate that his leaked critical tirade against the influence of IRGC over Tehran's diplomacy may win the support of reformists.

It could also enamour him to large sections of the Iranian public who are tired of the status quo in which unelected bodies control the state.

It remains to be seen whether Zarif will register his name before the deadline.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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