Iran's President Hassan Rouhani Registers To Run For Re-Election

Rouhani has spent weeks defending his economic record, pushing back against critics who argue that ordinary people are yet to feel any benefits from the nuclear deal and subsequent lifting of sanctions.

Iranian hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi registered on Friday to run for next month's presidential election, state television showed. "Everyone is running, so I chose to run as well", said one candidate, who asked not to be named.

Rouhani has also lost one of his main backers: heavyweight former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who passed away in January, played a key role in the surprising landslide victory in 2013.

He was also Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran in 1980s and 1990s.

Earlier, ex-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Former Minister of Industry Mostafa Hashemitaba, former Oil Minister Seyed Mohammad Kharazi and Ebrahim Raeesi, the chief custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, have registered their candidacies.

In 2016, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Raisi as head of the Imam Reza charity foundation, which owns a large business conglomerate and endowments in Iran.

Ahmadinejad previously served two four-year terms from 2005 to 2013. Raisi told reporters at the interior ministry where registration was being held.

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Ahmadinejad registered for presidential election along with his close aide, former vice-president Hamid Baqayee.

But many hard-liners in Iran seek a tough-talking candidate to rally around who can stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump.

However, Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that the Supreme Leader never barred him from rerunning for the presidency.

According to the schedule released by Iran's Interior Ministry, the campaign for presidential race will kick off on April 28 and will continue until the end of May 17.

Under Iran's electoral system, all applicants must be vetted by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that will announce a final list of candidates by April 27.

Rouhani has on several occasions called for massive turnout in the elections slated for May 19.

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