POLITICS
Seven candidates approved for Iran vote

June 18, 2021 – Iran has approved seven mostly hard-line candidates to run in its June 18 presidential election, while barring several prominent contenders allied to outgoing President Hassan Rouhani.

Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, who is linked to mass executions in 1988, is seen as the clear frontrunner. He’s the most-known candidate of the seven hopefuls, with opinion polling previously showing his anti-corruption campaign drew Iranian support. He’s also believed to be a favourite of Iran’s 82-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But perhaps most notable was who Iran’s Guardian Council barred from running. Chief among them was former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a conservative who allied with Rouhani in recent years. Larijani had been positioning himself as a pragmatic candidate who would back Rouhani’s signature 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Diplomats in Vienna are now trying to negotiate a return of both Iran and the U.S. to the agreement.

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