Iran ex-speaker Larijani launches presidential bid

Iran ex-speaker Larijani launches presidential bid
Former Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, a prominent conservative, was among candidates registering on Friday for an early election next month.
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Former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, whose candidacy was vetoed in the previous presidential election in Iran, arrive at the Interior Ministry on the second day of the application process and applied for candidacy, in Tehran, Iran on May 31. [Getty]

Former Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani on Friday submitted his candidacy for a presidential election set for next month following Ebrahim Raisi's death in a helicopter crash, state media reported.

The election was originally slated for 2025 but was brought forward following Raisi's death on May 19.

The interior ministry on Thursday began accepting candidates for the early vote scheduled for June 28, and presidential hopefuls have until Monday to apply.

Larijani, 66, whose views on foreign policy are seen as relatively moderate in Iran, submitted his application on Friday morning, according to footage broadcast by state television.

He told journalists one of his "priorities" if elected would be to "resolve the issue of (US) sanctions" and improve the country's economy.

However, his candidacy, like all presidential hopefuls in Iran, must be approved by the Guardian Council, a 12-member body of jurists with the power to disqualify candidates.

Larijani was among several reformist and moderate candidates the council disqualified ahead of the 2021 election that brought the ultraconservative Raisi to power.

Those elections had a record low turnout for a presidential poll, at just 48.8 percent.

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Larijani has served in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and went on to hold several key positions in the country over three decades.

He oversaw Iran's nuclear negotiations with the West in the early 2000s but resigned after two years, citing "serious differences" with former populist president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A three-term parliament speaker who has backed the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Larijani has a doctorate in philosophy and comes from an influential family with ties to the Islamic republic's clerical leadership.

On Thursday, another former nuclear negotiator, the ultraconservative Saeed Jalili, known for his hardline stances, registered as a presidential candidate.

Parviz Fattah, a former Revolutionary Guards member who heads an investment fund linked to the leader, could also register as a candidate.

Interim President Mohammad Mokhber has also been mentioned in Iranian media as a possible candidate.

Several low-key moderate politicians are also likely to enter the race.