Iran's former parliament speaker Ali Larijani registers as presidential candidate

Larijani was barred from running in the 2021 elections in which Ebrahim Raisi came to power

Former Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani says he will focus on tackling US sanctions if elected. EPA
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Iran's former parliament speaker Ali Larijani has registered as a presidential candidate for the June 28 elections.

The vote has been scheduled after Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on May 19 alongside senior officials including foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

Mr Larijani was barred from running in the 2021 elections in which Mr Raisi came to power, despite all-time low voter turnout. Mr Larijani, 66, is regarded as a moderate candidate, aligned with former president Hassan Rouhani.

Mr Larijani said in Tehran on Friday that, if elected, one of his main focuses, would be to "resolve the issue of US sanctions" on Iran, which were imposed after Washington in 2018 withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, under president Donald Trump.

Mr Larijani also addressed unemployment in the country, which reached 10.7 per cent in 2022 and declined to 7.6 per cent early this year, the country's Statistical Centre said.

“In my government, every competent and capable person with any political taste will be employed,” he told state-funded Press TV.

Mr Larijani served as speaker of parliament from 2008 to 2020. “The country's diplomacy should focus on the progress of Iran ... the strategy of Iran as an important regional power is that the entire region should be safe and powerful," he said.

Not much is expected to change in the Iranian government, regardless of who wins the election, Crisis Group's Iran Project director, Ali Vaez, told The National.

"If you look at recent elections, whether it's been parliamentary elections or assembly of experts elections, the system has even disqualified its loyal critics or people have been serving [supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] for many years, whether it was Ali Larijani, former speaker of the parliament, or even president Rouhani, who was the member of the Assembly of Experts for 24 years," he said.

"This is a closing of the political system because the primary objective again for the supreme leader is to be able to manage the transition to his successor without any serious challenge whatsoever."

Updated: May 31, 2024, 2:04 PM