Iranian judiciary warns presidential hopefuls against crossing ‘red lines’

TEHRAN, Iran — A senior Iranian judiciary official warns candidates running in the forthcoming presidential election against crossing the “red lines” of the Islamic Republic.

Iranians are set to elect a successor to President Hassan Rouhani on June 18, amid widespread discontent over a deep economic and social crisis.

The Islamic Republic’s candidate-vetting Guardian Council has approved seven mainly ultraconservative candidates to run in the election from a field of about 600 hopefuls.

“Candidates should not cross the system’s red lines in their campaigns and speeches,” says Tehran Attorney General Ali Alqassi-Mehr, according to Mizan Online, the judiciary’s official news agency.

Wrongdoers will be “confronted firmly,” he says, and warns in particular against any attacks on the “reputation” of the judiciary.

Several issues are considered “red lines” in Iran, including questioning the doctrine of Velayat-e faqih (the guardianship of the jurist) which establishes religious authority over politics.

The head of the judiciary, ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi, is widely considered the favorite candidate in the race to the presidency.

Raisi won 38 percent of the vote in the 2017 presidential election but was defeated by Rouhani.

The presidential election campaign officially kicked off quietly on Friday.

The Guardian Council’s disqualification of several candidates appeared to have cleared the way for Raisi, who faces four lesser-known candidates from his own camp and two reformists without a strong base.

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