Just 7 of 590 candidates allowed to run in Iran’s June presidential race

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian state television announces that only seven candidates have been approved by the country’s constitutional watchdog to run for president next month, on June 18, drastically narrowing the field of hopefuls who want to replace outgoing President Hassan Rouhani.

The report does not name those selected, though rumors have circulated that reformists and moderates vying for the spot may have been barred from running by the Guardian Council.

State TV quotes Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, the spokesman of the Guardian Council, as saying “only seven” had been approved out of some 590 who registered by the panel of clerics and jurists overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Kadkhodaei does not name those selected.

Ebrahim Raisi, head of Iran’s judiciary, waves to media as he visits the Interior Ministry in Tehran to register his candidacy for the June 18 Iranian presidential elections, May 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran’s Interior Ministry, which oversees its police and elections, typically announces the candidates. In 2017, 1,630 hopefuls registered to run.

Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric who ran against Rouhani in 2017, is considered among analysts to be the strongest candidate in the upcoming vote. Many in Iran have grown frustrated with Rouhani, whose signature achievement was the 2015 nuclear deal that’s now in tatters after then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord in 2018.

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