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Iran’s Constitutional Council extends candidate vetting process after missing 1st deadline

The photo, taken from the website of Iran’s Constitutional Council, shows members of the body during a session of vetting the registered presidential hopefuls, May 17, 2021.

Iran’s Constitutional Council has extended the process of vetting candidates for the June 18 presidential election, saying it needs another five days to finalize the examinations.

“We have not reached a final conclusion with regard to reviewing the qualifications, and we are going to use the second 5-day deadline,” Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaee, the Council’s spokesman, said in a TV interview on Wednesday night.

Presidential candidates running for the June 18 election had until Saturday to register. The Constitutional Council was expected to wrap up the vetting within five days, but under Iranian election law, the body can extend the process for another five days.

Approved candidates can begin campaigning on May 28.

“In the morning and in the afternoon today, we held meetings to review the qualifications of the candidates, and given the expert reports and the meticulousness of the esteemed members [of the Council], the reviews will continue,” Kadkhodaee said.

He said it is highly unlikely that the Constitution Council would be able to announce the results to the Interior Ministry before the 10-day deadline, adding that it takes hours for the members of the Council to study each case and reach a conclusion.

According to Kadkhodaee, the Council is checking out only the 40 candidates who submitted the required documents during the registration period.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has announced that 592 people, including 552 men and 40 women, registered as candidates between May 11 and May 15.

The spokesman also dismissed rumors about the number of approved candidates, saying neither he nor any other 12 members of the Constitutional Council know who will receive the 7 votes needed from the Council members.

In recent days, unofficial social media accounts have published what they claimed to be the names of approved candidates. Earlier on Wednesday, Kadkhodaee dismissed all lists as “fake news”.

“These days, there is a lot of fake news circulating about reviewing the [candidates’] qualifications,” he wrote in a tweet.

“Some fuel the rumors with speculation, some with confidential news, and some with reference to ‘informed and credible sources’,” Kadkhodaee added.

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