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Politics: 2017 Election

Iran will simultaneously hold the 12th presidential election and the 5th City and Village Councils Elections on 19 May 2017. The Osul-Garayan, or principlists -- is a faction of hard-core conservatives dedicated to the ideals and values espoused by the father of the Islamic Revolution -- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The principlists dominate the central organs of the Iranian body politic; if such a thing as a "deep state" exists within the Islamic Republic, they are it. Participation is key for the success of a presidential election in an elective autocracy because it gives the people the illusion that they can shape events (even if the reality is not quite so simple).

The Ministry of Interior and the Central Oversight Committee of the Guardians Council vet candidates for the presidency, parliament, and Assembly of Experts. The pre-approval phase was time for shaping the electoral agenda. Iran's Guardian Council started the process of auditing the credentials of the nominees, who have registered to run in the forthcoming 12th presidential election, the body's spokesman said 16 April 2017. "According to the Constitution, the Guardian Council has a five-day [deadline] to examine the qualifications of the hopefuls and announce [the results]," Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei said.

At the end of the fifth and final day of the registration process, the head of the Interior Ministry's Election Office, Ali Asghar Ahmadi, said a total of 1,636 individuals, including 137 women, had registered to run in the upcoming presidential election. Campaigning for the presidential election will begin two weeks before the vote.

The final list of the candidates eligible to run for Iran's 12th round of presidential election is expected to be announced by the Interior Ministry on April 2627. Electoral campaigns will officially begin on April 28 and would continue until May 17. A number of high-profile figures registered for the 12th presidential election.
  1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former two-time president; a member of the Expediency Council; and a former Tehran mayor. He left office in 2013 amid rumors of a falling-out with Khamenei and with the opposition still simmering over mass arrests and violence in a crackdown following protests over alleged irregularities in Ahmadinejad's reelection in 2009. Ahmadinejad had fallen from favor with the clerical establishment, lost his role as a mouthpiece for fiery hard-line rhetoric, and retreated into obscurity. He was not expected to enter frontline politics again.
  2. Hamid Baghaei, the former head of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization in Ahmadinejad's first presidential term; the ex-caretaker of the Presidential Office; and a former vice president for Ahmadinejad. Baghaei was sent to prison in 2015 on unnamed charges (and likely as a signal to Ahmadinejad, whose presidency has been painted as corrupt by his adversaries).
  3. Mohsen Gharavian, a teacher at the center of seminary studies in the holy city of Qom
  4. Seyyed Mohammad Gharazi, a former member of the Parliament; a former oil minister under Bahonar and Mousavi; a former minister of post, telegraph and telephone under Mousavi and Hashemi Rafsanjani; and a former member of the 1st Tehran City Council
  5. Seyyed Mostafa Hashemitaba, former minister of heavy industries under ex-prime minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar; a former minister of industry under former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi; the former head of the Sports Organization and a former vice president in Rinafsanjani's second presidential term and Khatami's first term; and a member of the 1st Tehran City Council
  6. Mehdi Kalhor, a former media adviser to Ahmadinejad; and a former adviser to the ex-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)
  7. Mostafa Kavakebian, a member of the Parliament; and the head of Mardomsalari Party
  8. Seyyed Mostafa Mir-Salim, a member of the Expediency Council; a former caretaker of the Presidential Office; a senior aide to former President Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, an ex-minister of culture and Islamic guidance under ex-President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and the head of the central committee of the Islamic Coalition Party
  9. Hassan Norouzi, a former member of the Parliament
  10. Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) in the city of Mashhad; a member of the Expediency Council; a member of 4th and 5th rounds of the Assembly of Experts; Tehran's former prosecutor; an ex-head of Iran's General Inspection Organization; a former deputy at Iran's Judiciary, a former top prosecutor of the country; and the former chairman of the IRIB Supervisory Council. Raisi, 56, a professor of Islamic law, is viewed as incumbent President Hassan Rohani's main rival for the presidency. Raisi is expected to draw support from Iran's hard-line factions, including the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
  11. Hojjatoleslam Hassan Rouhani, the incumbent; a member of the Expediency Council; a member of the 3rd and 5th rounds of the Assembly of Experts; a former member of the Parliament; the ex-secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) under Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami; and the ex-head of the Center for Strategic Studies at the SNSC
  12. Alireza Zakani, the director of jahannews website; a former member of the Parliament; the secretary general of the Society of the Pathseekers of the Islamic Revolution; and a former head of Iran's Students Basij Organization
  13. Masoud Zaribafan, a former chairman of Iran's Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs; a former vice president under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the latter's second four-year term; and a former member of the 2nd Tehran City Council

While Rohani has won praise for his groundbreaking nuclear deal with world powers last year, the pact's failure so far to stimulate strong economic growth and discontent due to high unemployment has created an opening for his opponents.

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