Who are the candidates for the presidential election in Iran?

Iran is going to hold presidential elections for the first time since the death of Ibrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash. The country’s voters will vote in the new presidential election on June 28. There are six candidates fighting for the post of president. Among them are well-known faces like the Speaker of Parliament, as well as lesser-known candidates.

Let’s take a look at who are the presidential candidates of Iran –

Amir Hossain Ghazizadeh Hashemi

Ghazizadeh was one of the most influential vice-presidents in Ibrahim Raisi’s government. The 53-year-old leader served as the head of the Foundation for Martyrs and Veterans Affairs. He also participated in the 2021 presidential election, but fell behind with less than 1 million votes. Ghazizadeh urged the country to follow Raisi’s policies in this election campaign, insisting that Iran does not need foreign investment to succeed.

Massoud Pezeshkian

The 69-year-old leader is a heart surgeon by profession. He is the only reformist candidate among the hard-line leaders contesting this election in Iran. Pezeshkian said he wants to negotiate with the West to reinstate some version of the 2015 nuclear deal. Highlighting the need for an economic agreement, this leader says that Iran must keep in touch with the world. Former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif supported him. However, analysts believe that Pezheshkian is unlikely to win the election.

Mostafa Pourmohammadi

64-year-old Pourmohammadi is contesting the election as the only Shia leader. He served as interior minister under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and later as justice minister under Rouhani. The U.S. State Department labeled Pourmohammadi a “notorious human rights violator” for his role in the 1988 mass execution of tens of thousands of political prisoners at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. Pourmohammadi insists that Iran’s next president must deal with the world. He criticized Iran for helping Russia in the Ukraine war. Although the reason is not to kill Ukrainian civilians. He feels that Tehran is not getting enough from Moscow in return for its support.

Alireza Zakani

Zakani, the current mayor of Tehran, also withdrew his candidacy in support of Raisi in the 2021 presidential election. Zakani said he believed Iran could ignore the impact of international sanctions, but there should be a diplomatic solution. He is a hardline leader who wants to end the use of the US dollar as the main currency in Iran’s foreign trade. Zakani has promised free health care for women and the elderly, cash payments to the poor and the revival of the Iranian currency, the rial, if he becomes president. However, he did not elaborate on how he would achieve these goals.

Saeed Jalili

Jalili, 58, is a staunch politician and former senior nuclear negotiator. He contested the 2013 presidential election and withdrew his candidacy in 2021 in support of Raisi. He was nicknamed the ‘Living Martyr’ after losing a leg in the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. Jalili thinks that there is no need to discuss Iran’s nuclear program with the West. Although he has close ties to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Jalili is not considered a likely winner of the election. He is mainly trying to attract rural voters.

Mohammad Bagher Kalibaf

The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Qalibaf, is the highest-ranking official running for president. He is the former mayor of Tehran. He has close ties with the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards. Kalibaf claims that he can save Iran from the current crisis. The 62-year-old leader has promised to focus on the middle class as well as provide more cash to the poor. According to analysts, Qalibaf is leading the race to become Iran’s next president, with Jalili in second place.

Source: Time