0132 GMT February 19, 2020
The country of 80 million people will hold its 12th presidential election in May under the supervision of the Guardian Council which is tasked with vetting the candidates, Press TV reported.
Mohammd-Reza Aref, who competed in the previous polls and heads the Reformist Supreme Policymaking Council, on Monday officially announced support for incumbent President Hassan Rouhani’s candidacy.
Hossein-Ali Amiri, the Iranian vice president for parliamentary affairs, announced Rouhani’s intention to join the competition late last month.
President Rouhani had a sweeping victory as a moderate candidate in 2013. He secured people’s votes through promises of better economy and friendlier relations with the international community. The 2015 historic nuclear agreement with world powers is one of the most important achievements of Rouhani’s administration.
The nuclear deal helped the government strengthen the country’s economy which had experienced a deep economic downturn after years of nuclear-related sanctions which were removed following the implementation of nuclear agreement in 2016.
The Principlists have also launched into determined campaigning to make up for the camp’s defeat in the previous round.
The Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, which includes Principlist personalities, had its Central Council hold a plenary session recently. On Monday, the council produced a list of 14 of its “best candidates” following the plenum but fell short of naming its main contestant.
The list features such names as Saeed Jalili and former commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Mohsen Rezaei, who likewise contested the previous elections.
Also appearing among the Principlists being tapped for the race are Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, former MP Mehrdad Bazrpash, former chief of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezzatollah Zarqami and chief custodian of Astan Quds Razavi Ebrahim Raeesi, who heads the organization holding trusteeship of the affairs of the holy shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam.
Others have also expressed their intention to participate in the competition, including Mostafa Kavakebian, a reformist parliamentarian, and Hamid Baqaei, a vice president for former two-time Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.