Major reformists, moderates disqualified as Iran presidential candidates

The Iranian government has unveiled the list of six people allowed to stand in the presidential election on June 28. Most of the major reformist and moderate applicants were disqualified.

The Interior Ministry on Sunday announced the candidate lineup for the election, which was called after President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash last month.

Eighty people filed for candidacy. The Guardian Council, or a panel of Islamic jurists and others, approved only six of them as candidates after examining their qualifications, such as loyalty to the country's Islamic establishment.

The six include parliamentary speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who once belonged to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He is a hardline conservative like Raisi, whose administration was sharply at odds with Western countries.

The list also contains another hardline conservative, Saeed Jalili. He was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, a body in charge of national defense and foreign affairs.

Candidacy was also granted to Masoud Pezeshkian, who was deputy parliamentary speaker and health minister. He is a reformist seeking dialogue with Western powers.

But other major reformists and moderates were disqualified for unknown reasons.

Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is popular among the underprivileged, was also barred from running.

Voter turnout in the previous presidential election in 2021 was 48.8 percent, the lowest since the Islamic establishment took hold in Iran in 1979. Many people did not vote as they were dissatisfied to see major reformists and moderates disqualified from running in the poll.

The Interior Ministry said electoral campaigns for the upcoming poll officially began on Sunday.