TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi registered his name to run in the country’s presidential election scheduled for June 18, while he stressed that he is an “independent” candidate.
Rayeesi was facing mounting calls by his supporters and associated political figures to join the 2021 presidential race, with a top body of Principlists now backing him as their top choice.
The high-profile official turned up at the headquarters of the Interior Ministry on Saturday morning to hand in his credentials and sign up for the presidential race.
Before registration for voting, he issued a statement to declare generalities of his plans for the presidential post.
“While respecting all the candidates and political groups, I have entered the scene…as an independent in order to bring about a change in the country’s executive management and put up a relentless fight against poverty and corruption, humiliation and discrimination,” Rayeesi said.
The Judiciary Chief said that he will form “a government whose main pillars and responsibilities will be on the shoulders of brave, revolutionary, professional, clean and anti-corruption youth who, wherever trusted, have created power and pride for Iran”.
“A government whose attention to the deprived and the oppressed and the lower classes of society will be one of its most important priorities and will not allow their dignity and honor to be tarnished,” he added.
Rayeesi underlined that his government “will not miss a single moment to lift oppressive sanctions”.
“With diplomacy based on internal power and capabilities, it pursues interaction and friendly and powerful relations with the world, specially with its neighbors,” he added.
“A government that protects the freedom of speech and writing, and the fundamental rights of all Iranian citizens and belongs to all Iranians. The ways and means for the people to play a role in the realization of justice should be open and the Iranian nation, men and women, with different ethnicities, with different languages and with different cultural and political tastes and beliefs, should feel a sense of belonging to the government and being Iranian is enough to guarantee all their citizenship rights,” Rayeesi said in his statement.
He underlined that his planned government will consider “sustainable employment to be its definite responsibility and will not allow unemployment and the forced firing of workers”.
Rayeesi also vowed to create better living conditions for the Iranians and seriously fight against corruption.
Although Rayeesi has participated in elections as an independent candidate, Manouchehr Mottaki, the spokesperson for the Unity Council of Principlists, said last Tuesday that the Council had endorsed him as the top pick in the election.
“We in the Unity Council have come to the conclusion that Mr. Rayeesi is the fittest candidate for presidency, and we hope we will hear him announcing his candidacy in the 2021 presidential election himself,” Mottaki said.
He also dismissed media reports suggesting that former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani was the Council’s choice.
Rayeesi was the main challenger to incumbent Hassan Rouhani in the 2017 presidential campaign, where he came in second.
He has been focused on his work at the country’s Judiciary, specially a crusade against corruption, which has earned him plaudits.
He was appointed the head of the country’s top judicial authority by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in March 2019.
There has been hectic activity in the Reformist camp too, with many names doing the rounds as potential candidates. After Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif turned down requests by the Reformist camp leaders, Ali Larijani, a veteran politician and former Parliament Speaker registered to run in Iran’s June 18 presidential election.
A former Parliament speaker, Larijani headed to the election headquarters at the Iranian Interior Ministry in Tehran on Saturday — the last day of registration — to officially put his name down for the race.
His nomination came after weeks of speculation about whether or not he would run. A veteran politician, Larijani used to be associated with the Principlist camp but allied with President Hassan Rouhani in the last 8 years and is now seen as the main contender of the Reformist-Moderate camp.
Larijani served as the speaker of the Iranian parliament from 2008 to 2020. He was the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 2005 to 2007.
Also on Saturday, Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, a relatively senior Reformist figure, registered for the election. He is the son of late former President of Iran Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and is currently the chairman of the City Council of Tehran. He first rose to prominence as the chairman and CEO of Tehran Metro for 13 years.
Meantime, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, former Head of the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters run by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Saeed Mohammad (the IRGC has already declared that it does not have any candidates in the presidential elections and Mohammad was required to resign before he declared his intention for running a president), former Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi, senior reformist figure Mostafa Tajzadeh, Head of the parliament’s Energy Commission Fereidoun Abbasi, former Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, Mahmoud Sadeqi, a reformist political activist and former member of the Iranian parliament, former cabinet ministers Abbas Akhoundi, Masoud Pezeshkian, and Shamseddin Hosseini, Ex-lawmaker Mostafa Kavakebian and former head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezzatollah Zarghami have registered for presidential elections as well.
Tens of other key political figures and former officials, including half a dozen allies of President Rouhani, have so far registered to run in the coming presidential campaign.