Iran news headlines on Saturday include Hashemi Rafsanjani & Rahim Mashaei announcement for running in presidential election; IAEA chief support for experts to check Iran’s Bushehr plant and 6.2 magnitude quake strike in Iran’s Hormozgan.
Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani threw himself into Iran’s election race on Saturday as a flurry of heavyweight candidates rushed to beat the registration deadline in the most unpredictable contest for decades.
Iranian media reported that Rafsanjani – a relative moderate – had registered for the June 14 presidential election with just minutes to spare. His candidacy radically alters what was previously seen as a contest between rival conservative groups.
An ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the centre of a split in Iran’s leadership registered on Saturday as a candidate in Iran’s June 14 presidential election, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, Ahmadinejad’s former chief of staff, has been accused by conservative hardliners close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as leading a “deviant current” that seeks to erode Islamic clerical authority in favour of a more nationalistic doctrine.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it would be a good idea to send experts to check the safety of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor, a day after Iran said its facilities were safe following a nearby earthquake.
Iranian officials and the Russian company that built Bushehr, Iran’s only nuclear power reactor, said it was unscathed by last month’s earthquake.
A strong earthquake of 6.2 magnitude hit southern Iran early on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, with local media reporting of damaged villages and several injuries.
The epicentre of the quake was measured at 85 kilometres (52 miles) southeast of the southern town of Minab at 0208 GMT , the USGS said in a statement. It was at a depth of 36.44 km (22.64).
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