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High-profile Iranian candidates register - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An Iranian cleric arrives at the election headquarters of interior ministry to register his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election, under portraits of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

An Iranian cleric arrives at the election headquarters of the Interior Ministry to register his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election, under portraits of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—On Saturday, the fourth day of registration for Iran’s presidential elections, a number of high-profile figures officially submitted their candidacies.

Well-known figures such as former Majlis speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, former vice president Mohammad Reza Aref, former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Mohsen Rezaei, and Tehran mayor Mohamamd Baqer Qalibaf, officially registered for the hotly-contended presidential elections.

As for whether other expected candidates, such as Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami, Esfandiyar Rahim Mashaei, and Ali Akbar Velayati, also intend to register, that will be revealed by 6 pm in Tehran (14:30 GMT).

Until yesterday, 336 candidates had registered at the Interior Ministry, including 8 women.

Hassan Ali Nuri, head of the election directorate at Iran’s Interior Ministry, has called on the judiciary to investigate Mohsen Rezaei’s campaign-like speech prior to his official registration. He branded Rezaei’s speech as being part of an election campaign, which is prohibited by law before the start of the official campaign period set to be announced by the Guardian Council.

According to Iran’s Fars news agency, Haddad Adel predicted that if he decides to run, Mashaei’s eligibility will be rejected by the Guardian Council.

“Ahmadinejad will obviously react to such decision but that is fine and there is no ground to worry about it” he added.

Haddad Adel is one of 1+2 coalition, which is close to Ayatollah Khamenei and determined to ensure that neither Hashemi Rafsanjani nor Mashaei decide to run.

Earlier on Friday morning, the Young Journalists news agency—affiliated with Iran’s state broadcasting agency (IRIB)—reported that Hashemi Rafsanjani’s security team inspected the registration headquarters in Tehran. This is being read as a sign of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s intention to nominate himself.

However, speaking with Mehr News Agency on Friday afternoon, Mohsen Hashemi, son of Hashemi Rafsanjani, denied that any such inspection had taken place.

At the same time, ISNA news agency reported that the meeting of Hassan Rouhani with roughly a thousand veterans pf the Iran–Iraq War scheduled for Friday morning in Tehran was canceled by government officials. Ali Younesi—former intelligence minister under Mohammad Khatami and who is currently backing Rouhani—was also barred from entering the building, according to ISNA.

During his Friday sermon yesterday in Tehran, Ahmad Khatami urged anyone thinking of registering to first read the constitution fully so they acquire a good understanding of the authority and responsibility bestowed on the president, according to Tasnim news agency.

Khatami warned hopeful candidates that “they should get themselves oriented with the constitutional framework and refrain from complaining once in office about lack of authority to implement their agenda.”

In another development, the latest stealth drone made in Iran was revealed in a ceremony at Iran’s defense ministry. The drone is nicknamed Hemaseh (Epic), in line with Ayatollah Khamenei’s announcement to name the new Persian year of 1392 as a “politically and economically epic year.”

According to the Fars news agency, Iran’s defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, described the drone as “capable of conducting surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as combat missions simultaneously.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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