Iranian Elections: Ali Larijani and Jalili are the most prominent candidates for the first two days

Iran’s former parliament speaker and moderate politician Ali Larijani on Friday submitted his candidacy for a snap presidential election in June after President Ibrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash.

According to footage aired on state television, Larijani (66) submitted his nomination papers on Friday morning. He told reporters that one of his “priorities” if elected would be to “resolve the (US) sanctions issue” and improve the Islamic Republic’s economic situation.

The ultra-conservative Raisi was elected to a four-year term in 2021, but his death on May 19 prompted a presidential election on June 28. On Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs started receiving applications for candidates, and the deadline has been extended till Monday. The most prominent candidate on Monday was former nuclear negotiator and hardline conservative Sayed Jalili.

Like all candidates for elections in Iran, Jalili and Larijani’s participation in the presidential race is subject to the approval of the 12-member Guardian Council.

A former head of the Islamic Shura Council (parliament), Raisi was one of several reformist and moderate candidates excluded by the council from the 2021 elections, which Raisi won. Those elections saw a participation rate of only 48.8%, the lowest in a presidential election since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979.

Larijani is considered one of the most prominent political figures in the Islamic Republic and has held several positions in the country’s political system over the past three decades. He previously contested the presidential election in 2005 and lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He later served as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and led negotiations with the major powers on the nuclear file, a role he stepped down from after two years due to differences in approach to this thorny issue that raised tensions between Ahmadinejad. Tehran and the West.

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Larijani served as president of the Shura Council for three terms between 2008 and 2020, and was a supporter of the 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear program between Tehran and international powers, from which the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018.

Larijani is the son of a prominent religious scholar, holds a doctorate in philosophy and comes from an influential family with ties to Iran’s religious leadership. His brother, Sadiq Amouli Larijani, is the chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.

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