Prominent justice chief stands up against Iran’s presidential election reformers

The head of Iran’s hardline judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi has announced that he will run in the presidential election on June 18.

Once pleased with his alleged involvement in the mass killings of political prisoners in the 1980s, Raisi transformed himself into a populist, campaigning against corruption, talking to ordinary people about their cases. in court and traveled to deprived provinces during the pandemic.

Raisi is seen as the leading candidate but will be challenged by politicians to reform a list to be scrutinized by the Guardian Council, the constitutional watchdog.

Before officially registering his nomination for interior minister on Saturday, the 60-year-old cleric said further changes in the country had not helped it achieve its goal of becoming a strong Iran.

“The outcome of the election must be real progress to restore hope and enthusiasm to the society,” he said. “Soon, the bitter feeling of injustice… Will be turned into a sweet and desirable taste in the administration of justice.”

President Hassan Rouhani, a centrist politician who gambled on approving the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, will step down this summer after two terms in office.

Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and impose heavy sanctions on Iran is a huge damage to Rouhani and the reform forces that support his candidacy.

Reformers should get the support of Iranians who supported Rouhani in his 2017 ouster of Raisi, but said they would not vote again protesting against the economic hardship caused by U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic. .

Many Iranians believe that having a hardliner like Raisi as president will not make a real difference because anti -reform and anti -reform politicians are the same.

First vice president Es’haq Jahangiri is the main reformist candidate. He acknowledged on Saturday that public confidence in the ruling institutions has waned and many people no longer believe their votes can change.

He warned Iranians that the situation in the country is alarming and could only get worse if they continue to be unwilling.

“I understand that many people are troubled by mismanagement and have no hope in the election,” he said. “We have no choice but to revive the ballot boxes.”

As a member of the outgoing government Jahangiri is held accountable to many Iranians, including business figures, for their suffering and Rouhani’s poor economic record.

Ali Larijani, a 63-year-old centrist politician and former parliamentary speaker was another leading candidate to register on Saturday morning. He is best known internationally as Iran’s former nuclear businessman.

Larijani supported the Iranian president in the previous nuclear negotiations and his role in the legislative body was crucial. By standing up against the oppressive forces he allowed Rouhani to strike the harmony of the world powers.

The biggest challenge in the election is the expected short-term turnout, which is seen as a rejection of the Islamic republic.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that his first priority was a high turnout that would help increase the country’s control power, give it security and credibility.

Raisi, who is largely believed to be backed by the elite Revolutionary Guards, could benefit from a pro-reform boycott of voters as he appeals to demean medium-class Iranians who are inclined to vote in all elections and usually favored populist politicians.

He is also close to the supreme leader and as the chief judicial officer is known to have a focus on launching domestic production rather than better international relations.

However, Raisi supported the nuclear talks in Vienna and said he would follow “smart and innovative diplomacy” and not “waste a second to get harsh sanctions” if elected. .

The Guardian Council will announce the names of those allowed to run in the election before the three -week campaign begins on May 28.

Dozens of politicians and military figures have registered. Most are expected to be banned.

Along with the list is Mostafa Tajzadeh, a former political prisoner, who is breaking social and political taboos by calling for an end to mandatory Islamic cover for women and challenging the absolute authority of the supreme leader.

Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran’s former senior leader who remains popular among the poor but is tainted by the regime, registered his candidacy on Wednesday. He said he would not vote for any candidate if he was banned from running, a move that could weaken support for Raisi among the poorest sections of society.

Larijani said on Saturday that “the economic field is not garrison or court either to manage with orders”, clearly targeting members of the guard as well as Raisi and his anti-corruption campaign. “It is unthinkable to think a move by the populists could help solve it [Iran’s] problems. ”

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