Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Iran's Guardians Council has barred former two-time President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's chief ally, from running in the upcoming 14 June presidential election. They were touted to be the two main adversaries of the candidates from the ultra-conservative bloc backed by the Guardians Council and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Fearing clashes, Iranian authorities ordered police to prop up security measures in the streets and in all sensitive locations. For President Ahmadinejad, Mashaei was the victim of "an injustice."
The candidates that can run are: Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili; former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati; current Tehran Mayor Baqer Qalibaf; Rafsanjani crony Hassan Rowhani; former Parliamentary Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel; former Revolutionary Guards Commander Mohsen Rezaei, who came third in the 2009 presidential elections; and Mohammed Reza Araf, former President Khatami's vice president and the only candidate associated with the reformist camp. About 30 women were excluded. Their application to run was essentially symbolic because the law bans women from the office as a matter of principle.
For political analyst Alireza Nader, "The Iranian regime is basically telling the Iranian people that their vote doesn't matter, that Ayatollah Khamenei derives his power from God and that he really, in a lot of ways, should be Iran's absolute ruler."