Iran Registers Presidential Candidates for Early Election Following Raisi’s Death

DUBAI – Iran commenced the registration of candidates on Thursday for an early presidential election next month, following the unexpected death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, as announced by Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi on state TV.

Raisi, once considered a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate decision-maker, leaves behind a power vacuum that has spurred a race among hardliners to influence the selection of the country’s next leader.

After a five-day registration period, the Guardian Council, responsible for overseeing elections and legislation, will vet the presidential candidates. “The vetting process will be seven days, followed by nearly two weeks of election campaigning for qualified candidates,” Vahidi explained. The list of approved candidates will be published on June 11.

Moderate politicians have criticized the 12-member hardline Guardian Council for disqualifying rivals to favor hardline candidates, who are expected to dominate the upcoming presidential race. Concerns about restricted candidate choices and widespread discontent over political, social, and economic issues could impact voter turnout.

In Iran’s political system, Khamenei holds ultimate authority over all state matters, including nuclear and foreign policy, while the elected president manages the country’s economic challenges.

Potential candidates include Parviz Fattah, a former member of the Revolutionary Guards and head of an investment fund linked to Khamenei, and Saeed Jalili, a former chief nuclear negotiator who once ran Khamenei’s office. Interim President Mohammad Mokhber and former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, who was barred from the 2021 presidential race, have also been mentioned as possible contenders in Iranian media.

Several moderate politicians are expected to enter the race, although their chances may be hindered by the Guardian Council’s stringent vetting process. The early election is poised to reshape Iran’s political landscape amidst ongoing internal and external pressures.