Iranian voters are going to the polls today (June 18) to vote on a replacement for two-term President Hassan Rohani. Only four candidates are left on the ballot after three dropped out on Wednesday – but many believe the election is stacked in favor of one man: Iran’s hard-line prosecutor, Ebrahim Raisi.
Iran’s Guardians Council, a 12-man body that vets presidential candidates, blocked Raisi's most serious rivals from running: former parliament speaker Ali Larijani; the reformist bloc’s leading candidate, Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri; all female candidates; and former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
Raisi, who lost to Rohani in his previous presidential run in 2017, may have grander ambitions beyond the presidency -- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader is 82 years old, and Raisi has been tipped as a potential successor.
Faced with crippling US sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic, the election comes amid economic turmoil and growing public discontent in Iran. Moreover, with Raisi facing no strong challenger on the ballot and activists calling for a boycott, voter turnout is expected to be low.
RFE/RL’s Persian Service, Radio Farda, has been providing audiences in Iran with comprehensive coverage of the election campaign, including informed analysis of the issues, coverage of campaign attacks, and counterattacks, and engagement with voters to gauge and report people’s reactions.
RFE/RL experts are available for comment before, during and after the polls:
- GOLNAZ ESFANDIARI, RFE/RL Senior Correspondent (English and Persian)
email@example.com | Twitter: @gesfandiari
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READ: What Iranian Foreign Policy Could Look Like Under President Raisi
READ: Disgruntled Iranians Say 'No Way,' Call For Boycott Of June Presidential Election
- NIUSHA BOGHRATI, Acting Director of Radio Farda (English and Persian)
firstname.lastname@example.org | Facebook: radio.farda
- HANNAH KAVIANI, Senior Correspondent of Radio Farda (English and Persian)
email@example.com | Twitter: @hannahkaviani
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