Iranians on June 14 will cast ballots to pick a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term. Candidates had until May 11 to register for the race, with 686 signing up.
Candidates will be screened by the Guardian Council for their qualifications and loyalty to the Islamic Republic. The list of approved candidates will be announced on May 22.
The following are some of the potential front-runners and other notable candidates.
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Rafsanjani is among the founders of the Islamic republic and has wielded power since its creation in 1979. He was its president from 1989 to 1997 and sought to regain the post in the 2005 election, losing to Ahmadinejad. A son and daughter who backed the opposition movement born out of the disputed 2009 election were temporarily jailed on charges of inciting unrest and spreading propaganda. Rafsanjani was born in 1934.
Ali Akbar Velayati
Velayati, a physician by training, is a senior foreign policy adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Velayati, 67, served as foreign minister through the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and until 1997.
Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf
Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, ran and lost to Ahmadinejad in 2005. He has used the capital as a platform to foster a reputation as a politician who gets things done. Qalibaf, a former Revolutionary Guards air force commander, also served as a national police chief. He’s 52 this year.
Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel
Haddad Adel, 68, is an adviser to Khamenei and a former parliamentary speaker. His daughter is married to Khamenei’s son.
Jalili, 47, is Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and the secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council. He is a former deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs and a veteran of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.
Rezai is the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, a top arbitration body, and a former Revolutionary Guards commander. Rezai, who’s 58 this year, ran in the 2009 election and lost to Ahmadinejad.
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei
Mashaei is Ahmadinejad’s top aide and protégé, and his daughter is married to the president’s son. Mashaei has sought to project himself as an Iranian nationalist and Ahmadinejad’s critics, including senior clerics, have accused Mashaei of initiating a “current of deviation,” which they say is endangering the Islamic Republic.
Rohani was a chief nuclear negotiator under former President Mohammad Khatami and also has ties with Rafsanjani. He is 64.
Mohammad Reza Aref
Aref was a vice president during Khatami’s second term in the early 2000s and is a professor at a Tehran university.