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Iran’s presidential election dominated by Khamenei loyalists

25/6/2024 13:22
        Iranians choose a president on Friday in a tightly controlled election following Ebrahim Raisi's death in a helicopter crash last month, with the outcome expected to influence the succession to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's top decision-maker.
        
        With Iran's supreme leader now 85, it is likely that the next president will be closely involved in the eventual process of choosing a successor to Khamenei, who has ensured candidates sharing his hardline views dominate the presidential contest.
        
        The election coincides with escalating regional tensions due to the Israel-Hamas conflict, increased Western pressure on Iran over its rapidly advancing nuclear programme, and growing domestic dissent over political, social, and economic crises.
        
        However, the looming succession to the fiercely anti-Western Khamenei is the overriding concern among Iran's clerical elite. The Guardian Council, a hardline vetting body of clerics and jurists aligned to Khamenei, has approved five hardline and one low-profile moderate candidates from an initial pool of 80.
        
        Prominent among the hardliners are Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, parliament speaker and former head of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, and Saeed Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator.
        
        The sole moderate candidate, Massoud Pezeshkian, has the endorsement of Iran's politically-sidelined reformist camp.
        



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