The Challenges to Iran's Next President
Iran's Guardian Council, the powerful vetting and oversight committee of the Islamic republic, announced Tuesday its list of eight approved candidates for the June 14 Iranian presidential election. A total of 686 presidential hopefuls had submitted their names for approval, though in recent days dozens of politicians and clerics had withdrawn their candidacies in support of better-known figures. Chief among them were former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.
The Iranian Interior Ministry on Tuesday also confirmed rumors that had swirled for 36 hours that Rafsanjani had been dismissed due to his advanced age. Mashaei, long a subject of derision by the conservative clerical and political establishment (despite having the support of many of the members of Ahmadinejad's Cabinet and who would have enjoyed the backing of the president's considerable political machine and populist connections to Iran's rural and urban poor), also was dismissed. Read More »