Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Hard-line ex-leader Ahmadinejad stuns Iran with election bid

Hard-line ex-leader Ahmadinejad stuns Iran with election bid

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the driving force behind a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, registered today to run for re-election next month, state television footage showed.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that "Iran will ask no soul's permission to build missiles", according to the state-backed Press TV outlet.

The post Iranian President Rouhani registers to run in May for second term appeared first on BusinessDay: News you can trust.

Khamenei and his hardline allies have strongly criticized the slow pace of economic revival since the lifting of sanctions previous year, part of the nuclear deal with six major powers whereby Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program.

More than 860 candidates have been registered so far.

In March 2016, he was appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to head Astan Qods Razavi, a charitable foundation overseeing the Imam Reza shrine, as well as a huge business conglomerate with interests in everything from IT and banking to construction and agriculture.

Rouhani also mentioned the giant joint gas field, the North Field, Iran will be developing with Qatar. He has emphasised his concern for the poor, and is seen as a close ally of the supreme leader.

As successor to the mild-mannered reformist Mohammad Khatami, he toed a strident line on Israel and the US, refusing to meaningfully negotiate with the West over Iran's nuclear programme despite crippling economic sanctions.

Thus, the leadership question in Iran is about more than the presidency and the other governing bodies, particularly since the death on January 8, at age 84, of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chairman of the powerful Expediency Discernment Council.

Raisi, appointed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is now the custodian and chairman of the Shrine of Shiite Imam Reza in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad.

His father-in-law leads Friday prayers in Mashhad and both have seats on the Assembly of Experts that will choose the next supreme leader - a position for which Raisi himself is often rumoured to be in the running.

Rouhani's defended the policy of 'strengthening the defensive prowess of Iran's Armed Forces'.

Over 1,600 people registered to run. The applicants will then be vetted by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that will announce a final list of candidates by April 27.

The registration process began on April 11 and will continue for five days. The current leader, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly suggested that Ahmadinejad's candidacy would split the country and create a "polarizing situation" inside Iran.

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