The June 18 presidential election heats up as Chief Justice of Iran Ebrahim Raisi and Former speaker of the parliament, Ali Larijani, enter the race.

As Iran prepares for a presidential election next month, two heavyweight conservative candidates have announced their candidacy, Ebrahim Raisi and Ali Larijani.

The current president, Hassan Rouhani, who is described as a moderate within the context of the Islamic Republic of Iran, will not be allowed to run for a third consecutive term.

Both of the latest candidates enjoy close ties with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Guardian Council’s approval, which will announce the approval list on May 27, is compulsory for the candidates to run for the presidency for the next four-year term.

Chief Justice of Iran Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi is a conservative politician who was appointed as Chief Justice of the country by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Raisi, 61, was born in a clerical family in the Noghan district of Mashhad, a place famous for religious pilgrimages. 

He holds a masters degree in the field of International Private Law and a PhD in "jurisprudence and fundamentals of Islamic law" from Shahid Motahari University.

Ebrahim Raisi, Chief Justice of Iran, shows his identification document as he registers as a candidate for the presidential election at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran May 15, 2021.
Ebrahim Raisi, Chief Justice of Iran, shows his identification document as he registers as a candidate for the presidential election at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran May 15, 2021. (Reuters)

His religious education in Qom established his clerical credentials, one of the premier places of learning for Shia scholarship, and he was also the student of many famous Shia scholars. 

After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, he served as prosecutor in several cities in Iran.

In 1985, he was appointed deputy prosecutor of Tehran and in 1989, promoted to senior prosecutor in the capital.

He had worked as the head of the General Inspection Office in 1994 until he became the first Deputy Chief Justice of Iran in 2004.

In 2014, he was appointed Attorney-General of Iran, a position he held until 2016.

Raisi lost the 2017 presidential election to current President Rouhani as a candidate for  the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces (JAMNA) and supported by other revolutionary factions.

He had pledged to fight against poverty and corruption, however, he lost the election to Rouhani.

With 99.7 percent of ballots counted, Rouhani had 23.5 million votes (57 percent) compared to 15.8 million(38 percent) for Raisi, according to the final results.

However, he did not congratulate Rouhani on his re-election in 2017 and demanded the Guardian Council to check violations before and during the election.

Raisi is also considered a potential successor to Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Former speaker of the parliament Ali Larijani

Ali Larijani, 64, is an Iranian conservative politician, philosopher and former military officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Larijani served as the speaker of the Iranian Parliament from 2008 to 2020.

He was born in Iraq’s prominent religious centre, the city of Najaf, to Iranian clerics. His parents moved from Iran to Najaf in 1931 because of the pressure of then ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi. He returned in 1961.

Ali Larijani, former chairman of the parliament of Iran, shows his identification document as he registers as a candidate for the presidential election at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran May 15, 2021.
Ali Larijani, former chairman of the parliament of Iran, shows his identification document as he registers as a candidate for the presidential election at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran May 15, 2021. (Reuters)

Larijani holds a bachelor degree in computer science and mathematics from the Aryamehr University of Technology in Tehran. 

Later, he finished his masters and PhD in Western philosophy from the University of Tehran. Dr Larijani is also a lecturer at the University of Tehran School of Literature and Humanities.

He is a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards and served as deputy minister of labour and social affairs and information and communications technology.

In 1994, he was appointed as head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, a state controlled authority which controls domestic television and radio services in Iran, and served ten years in the post.

He contested the 2005 presidential election, however, he received just 5.94 percent of the votes  - where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won with 61.69 percent of the votes.

He was elected an MP from Qom in 2008 and became speaker of the parliament. He continued in this post for three consecutive terms until 2020.

Larijani claimed other candidates will not be capable of fixing the economy, especially those who have military and judicial backgrounds.

"The economy is neither a garrison nor a court that would be managed with shouts and orders," Larijani said after registering for the candidacy. 

Source: TRT World