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Iran approves six of 80 candidates for presidential elections

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Iran’s Guardian Council, an appointed council of six clerics and six lawyers charged with interpreting Iran’s constitution, has barred a large majority of candidates from the upcoming presidential elections.

Early elections were called because the previous incumbent president Ebrahim Raisiwas killed in a helicopter accident on May 19.

A total of 80 people have filed for election in the June 28 presidential election, but only six candidates have been approved, an election authority spokesman said on state TV on Sunday.

The controversial former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the conservative former speaker of parliament Ali Larijaniwho was still considered a favorite, was denied the opportunity to participate in the elections.

Moderate politicians and candidates from the reform camp were also not allowed to stand as candidates.

From the ultraconservative camp there is Saeed Jalili, a hardliner and former nuclear negotiator. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is the incumbent speaker of parliament and former general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi is considered another hardliner and chairman of the Foundation of Martyrs and Veteran Affairs.

Masoud Pezeshkian has been tapped as a moderate candidate and is a former health minister.

Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi is an Islamic scholar and former Minister of the Interior and Justice, who is believed to have played a role in the mass executions of the 1980s. Finally, Alireza Sakani is the current mayor of Tehran.

Iran’s interim president, Mohammed Mochber, was seen as a promising candidate, but did not even register for the elections.

In Iran, unlike many other countries, the president is not the head of state, but he does lead the government. Real power is concentrated in the hands of religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf shows his inked finger to the media as he registers his candidacy for Iran’s upcoming presidential elections. Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

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