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Iranian VP, Rafsanjani’s Brother Enter Presidential Race | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Hasan Rouhani (Reuters)

London – The final stages of the Iranian presidential elections’ registration had few hidden surprises. Just before closing the registration, both competing parties, the conservative and moderates revealed their candidates.

Confirmations have been made concerning a shadow candidate for the current President after his first deputy Es’haq Jahangiri decided to run the presidential elections as the second main candidate of the pro-reform groups.

Meanwhile, two of major reform movement candidates announced a meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei during which they discussed several issues including human rights issues and the ongoing house arrest of Green Movement leaders and 2009 elections’ candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Last hour negotiations between Hossein Marashi, reformist politician and member of Executives of Construction Party, and Reformist figure Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari were an attempt to convince President Rouhani of Jahangiri’s competing in the elections.

The case of the “shadow” candidate stirred wide debates between reformists and moderates as the latter believe having a sufficient amount of candidate would ensure Rouhani alienation from the elections by the Elections Headquarters.

Jahangiri said he is going into elections to support Rouhani, adding that his primary goal is to clarify what the government begin and end with. His candidacy comes after the government spokesperson Mohammad Bagher Nobakht denied on April 09 any candidate from the current government.

Speaking to reporters after completing the registration process, Jahangiri said unity is needed to overcome challenges. He did admit that unemployment هs among the country’s main problems.

Over the past few months, the government was under fire from the conservative party and media close to Khamenei and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

As of now, Rouhani loyalist party is holding its breath before the Elections Headquarters decides the results of the applicants approved as of April 20.

Head of the Elections Headquarters Ali-Asghar Ahmadi said that totally 1,636 candidates filed for the elections few hours after a five-day time to register for Iran’s upcoming presidential elections came to an end.

Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani, the brother of the late chairman of the Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also on Saturday put his name down for the presidential contest.

Rafsanjani said that he plans to remain in the presidential race until the end and added that he plans to run the country according to priorities and program approved by the parliament. He added that he held meetings with several officials and that he was assigned to compete for the next president. When asked about his reaction in case his candidacy was rejected, he stated that he’ll leave it to God.

Meanwhile, ILNA news agency reported candidate Mohsin Ruhami saying he held talks with Khamenei during which they discussed the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, his wife and Mehdi Karroubi. He promised to publish the details of the meeting as soon as the registration is over.

He criticised the economic situation of the country, calling the election “a historic choice” to make “fundamental changes in the status quo”.

Speaking to reporters after his registration, Qalibaf disputed Rouhani’s claims about the current administration’s economic performance.

Among other officials in the presidential race are: former minister of Agriculture Jihad Sadeq Khalilian, former lawmaker Evaz Heidarpour, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Education and Research Committee Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi, member of Tehran’s Islamic City Council Hassan Bayyadi, former vice president for parliamentary affairs Ahmad Moussavi and lawmaker Hamid Reza Haji-Babaei were.