Six candidates were approved by the Guardian Council in the race for the presidency on May 19. Now there are five — as Tehran's mayor has pulled out.
Iran's presidential elections is scheduled for May 19th, with six candidates approved by the Guardian Council, a watchdog body made up of 12 men in charge of vetting candidates. Five are now running for election.
Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is standing for a second term against five other candidates, including his own Vice President Ishaq Jahangiri, a moderate, and Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a hardliner.
If nobody wins more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round on May 19, there will be a run-off a week later.
In the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, each president has stayed in office for two terms.
The vote has shaped up to be primarily a contest between Rouhani, a politician who has campaigned on a platform of opening up the country to the West and easing social restrictions, and hardline rival Ebrahim Raisi, who has served in top positions in the judiciary for many years.
The incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, who won the 2013 presidential election by a landslide, is likely to be re-elected since all previous presidents have served two terms. Rouhani was the former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) from 1989 to 2005. He also served as deputy speaker of the Iranian parliament, or majlis.
Rouhani has a larger electoral base in urban centres, especially from youth, for his vision of greater social freedom.
An important achievement of Rouhani during his five-year term is his work in the partial lifting of the international financial and trade sanctions against Iran.
However, despite the partial lifting of the sanctions, economic growth has been very slow. If Rouhani is defeated, it would indicate a setback in public for his failure to address the economic problems of the country.
In the ongoing presidential campaign, Rouhani said he would focus on tackling unemployment and stimulate production.
Conservative candidate Ibrahim Raisi is considered the strongest opponent to Rouhani in the current election.
Raisi is a former prosecutor and current custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, the foundation managing the affairs of Imam Reza's shrine, which has an annual revenue of $210 billion.
His close association with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would attract the support of conservatives across Iran.
During the presidential campaign he promised to tackle the economic problems of the country.
Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf
Qalibaf is a candidate from the conservative faction and he is the current mayor of Tehran.
He lost to Rouhani during the presidential election of 2013.
Qalibaf could be a challenging candidate from the ultra-conservative camp.
However, recent corruption allegations on the management of a Tehran municipality cast Qalibaf's presidential bid into question.
Eshaq Jahangiri is a reformist candidate and currently serves as the vice president for Rouhani's government.
He used to be a parliamentarian and served the minister of mines and metals under Mohammad Khatami's government.
During the presidential campaign, he said that under the current government, the country has overcome a depression, but has to address purchasing power.
Hashemitaba is a reformist candidate. He served as vice president under former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
During the presidential campaign, Hashemitaba promised to tackle unemployment, revive the economy and boost the national gross product.
Mostafa Mirsalim is a conservative politician and a member of the Expediency Council.He was minister of culture and Islamic guidance from 1994 to 1997. He was also senior adviser to former president Ayatollah Khamenei from 1981 to 1989.