Iran’s rival Reformist and Principlist political camps have taken more definite steps towards contesting the country’s 2017 presidential election.
The country of 80 million people will hold its 12th presidential election in May under the supervision of the Guardian Council which is tasked with vetting the candidates.
Mohammd-Reza Aref, who competed in the previous polls and heads the Reformist Supreme Policymaking Council, on Monday officially announced support for incumbent President Hassan Rouhani’s candidacy.
Hossein-Ali Amiri, the Iranian vice president for parliamentary affairs, announced Rouhani’s intention to join the competition late last month.
The Principlists have also launched into determined campaigning to make up for the camp’s defeat in the previous round.
The Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, which includes Principlist personalities, had its Central Council hold a plenary session recently. On Monday, the Council produced a list of 14 of its “best candidates” following the plenum but fell short of naming its main contestant.
The list features such names as Sa'eed Jalili and former commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Mohsen Reza’ei, who likewise contested the previous elections.
Also appearing among the Priciplists being tapped for the race are Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, former MP Mehrdad Bazr-Pash, former chief of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezzatollah Zarqami and chief custodian of Astan Quds Razavi Ebrahim Raeesi, who heads the organization holding trusteeship of the affairs of the holy shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam.
Others have also expressed their intention to participate in the competition, including Mostafa Kavakebian, a reformist parliamentarian, and Hamid Baghaei, a vice president for former two-time Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.