Possible presidential front-runners in Iran

The following are potential front-runners in Iran’s June 14 presidential elections. The list of candidates will be announced later this month after vetting by Iran’s ruling system:

ALI AKBAR VELAYATI: Top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on international affairs. Velayati, 67, Served as foreign minister during the 1980-88 war with Iraq and into the 1990s. He is a physician and runs a hospital in north Tehran. He was among the suspects named by Argentina in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

MOHAMMAD BAGHER QALIBAF: Tehran mayor and former commander of the Revolutionary Guard during the Iran-Iraq war. Qalibaf, 51, is a pilot who enjoys good relations with Khamenei.

HASAN ROWHANI: A former nuclear negotiator and Khamenei’s representative at the Supreme National Security Council, which also handles the nuclear dossier. Rowhani, 64, is a British-educated cleric.

MOHAMMAD REZA AREF: Liberal-leaning former vice president under reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Aref, 62, a former Tehran University chancellor, said he would drop out of race if Khatami decides to run.

ESFANDIAR RAHIM MASHAEI: A top adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and married to Ahmadinejad’s daughter. His candidacy is being heavily promoted by Ahmadinejad, but he will face serious hurdles during the vetting by the Guardian Council, which must approve all candidates. Mashaei, 52, was denounced as leader of a “deviant current” during Ahmadinejad’s political showdowns with Khamenei.

MOHSEN REZAEI: Former chief commander of the Revolutionary Guard. Rezaei, 58, ran in 2009, but finished fourth. He is currently secretary of the Expediency Council, which mediates between the parliament and Guardian Council.

By The Associated Press


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