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Iran’s Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri registers presidential run

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Es’haq Jahangiri gestures to reporters as he registers in the June 18 presidential election, at the election headquarters in the Iranian Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran, on May 15, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

Iranian Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri has registered to run in the June 18 presidential election, pitting himself against Ebrahim Raeisi, who is seen as the Principlists’ main candidate.

Jahangiri filed his application with the election headquarters at the Interior Ministry on Saturday, the final day of the registration process for presidential hopefuls.

Jahangiri was the Reformist camp’s second-best choice, after Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on Wednesday that he would not be running, turning the spotlight on the Iranian vice president.

“Our Iran has faced various issues and difficulties in recent years and is now in serious need of real openings in people’s lives, all-out development, [and] the improvement of people’s livelihoods with the removal of sanctions, sustainable economic growth that would create jobs, and support for production and a fairer redistribution of wealth,” he said.

“Elections should be honored and made effective as an opportunity arising from the ideals of the Islamic Revolution and the constitutional capacity to exercise national sovereignty and reform the governance process,” he added.

Jahangiri said he had not intended to run, but decided against his initial intention after Zarif announced his own refusal to run.

“I did not intend to run, and I had hoped there would be no need for me to. But, given the decision of my dear brother Dr. Javad Zarif not to run, and the inability of a number of others… to register, and with the Iranian Reform Front, Reformist leaders, and sympathetic figures, as well as many young people and political and civil activists recognizing that I should come to the scene… I refuse to shy away from accepting the responsibility,” Jahangiri said.

Earlier in the day, Raeisi also turned up at the election headquarters to put his own name down. In a statement, he said he would be running as an “independent” — not a Principlist.

“With all due respect for all the candidates and political groups, I have entered the scene… as an independent in order to bring about change in the country’s executive management and put up a relentless fight against poverty and corruption, humiliation and discrimination,” Raeisi said in the statement.

The registration process will come to an end at 18:00 local time later in the day.

Once hopefuls have registered, they will be subject to vetting by Iran’s Constitutional Council, a process that will take another five days. Iran’s 13th presidential election will be held on June 18.

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