MOSCOW, June 14 (RIA Novosti) – As Iranians went to the polls Friday, they had a list of six presidential candidates to choose from, whittled down from an initial list of over 600: one reformer, four conservatives and one candidate classified as independent, though he is a former government minister.
In their campaigns, all the candidates have primarily emphasized the need to fix Iran’s economic mess – by stabilizing the local currency, creating jobs and attracting foreign investment. The second top issue has been Iran’s foreign policy, including defense of its nuclear program. A third point on the campaign agenda has been social issues, such as education and various welfare benefits.
Hassan Rouhani: After Mohammad Reza Aref – a Stanford University alum who served as first vice president (2001-2005) under the moderate Mohammad Khatami – withdrew his candidacy earlier this week, Iran is left with a single candidate aligned with the reformer camp. Hassan Rouhani was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005 – under both Khatami and another moderate president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has publicly backed him – and a former top negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. He also served as deputy speaker of the Iranian parliament, or Majlis, in 1992-2000. He holds a doctorate degree from Glasgow Caledonian University.
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf: Iran’s former police chief, currently serving a second term as Tehran’s mayor. During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and until his appointment as police chief, Ghalibaf occupied several commanding posts in the elite and powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He ran for the presidency in 2005 but lost to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was elected mayor by Tehran’s City Council in September 2005 to succeed Ahmadinejad, who had left the post for the presidency.
Saeed Jalili: Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (since October 2007) and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator. Jalili served as deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs in 2005-2007.
Mohsen Rezaii: A prominent politician and former IRGC commander (1981-1997). Rezaii has been on Interpol’s wanted list since 2007, after Argentinian authorities identified him a year earlier as one of seven Iranian nationals (and one Lebanese citizen) suspected of involvement in a fatal 1994 explosion at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The blast killed 85 and injured more than 200. Rezaii denies wrongdoing.
Ali Akbar Velayati: Iran’s foreign minister from 1989 to 1997. He is currently foreign affairs advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Velayati was under consideration by Iran’s conservative alliance as a possible candidate in the 2005 presidential election, but ultimately decided not to run. He is a medical doctor, with degrees from Tehran University and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Ali Akbar Velayati
Seied Mohammad Gharazi: A former minister of oil (1981-1985) and communications (1985-1997), Gharazi also served in the IRGC. He explicitly positions himself as unaffiliated with either the reformist or the conservative wing in Iranian politics.
Seied Mohammad Gharazi
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