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Iran’s presidential candidates: Who are they?

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A reformist and an ultra-conservative face off in a runoff election on Friday, with neither candidate winning the majority needed to win the presidency amid record low turnout in the first round and popular discontent with the political establishment.

The July 5 elections were called a year early due to the death of former President Ibrahim Lessi. In a helicopter crash in Maywill decide whether reformist candidate Dr. Masoud Pezeshkian or hard-line candidate Sayyed Jalili will take over the embattled The economy is paralyzedinternal protests and foreign policy challenges.

In the first round of voting, 60% of eligible voters did not show up or cast a blank ballot. be opposed to They believe that the ruling authorities are inefficient and unable to resolve Iran’s domestic and international problems.

Dr. Pezeshkian received more than 10.4 million votes (42.4%) out of a total of about 24 million votes, while Sayyid Jalili received 9.47 million votes (38.6%).

While Dr. Pezeshkian received the most votes in the first round, it is unclear who will win Friday’s election. The third-place candidate, Mohammad Bakr Ghalibaf, who received 13.8 percent of the first-round vote, supports Mr. Jalili, but early polls suggest many of Ghalibaf’s supporters will not back him.

Here are some things to know about Dr. Pezeshkian and Mr. Jalili:

Dr. Pezeshkian is a heart surgeon who served in the Iran-Iraq War and was a member of parliament and Iran’s health minister.

Reformist candidates were mostly disqualified from running in the 2021 presidential election and the March parliamentary polls. Experts say Dr. Pezeshkian likely ran with the permission of the Guardian Council, the governing body that decides which candidates can run, to boost turnout, as many Iranians boycotted the March parliamentary polls. The government considers high turnout crucial to the legitimacy of the elections.

Dr Pezeshkian, an Azerbaijani from Iran’s minority ethnic group, has been backed by former President Mohammad Khatami. The candidate has expressed a willingness to engage in nuclear talks with the West and has framed the debate as an economic issue. US-led sanctions over Iran’s ballistic and nuclear missile programmes are currently underway. Weaken the country’s economy.

Dr. Pezeshkian has publicly criticized the government and condemned its violent enforcement of mandatory headscarf laws following protests in 2022 over the death of an Iranian Kurdish woman. Mahasa Aminisweeping the country.

Mr. Jalili, an ultraconservative former nuclear negotiator known as a “living martyr” for losing a leg in the Iran-Iraq war, represents the country’s most hardline ideological views on both domestic and foreign policy.

Jalili, who has close ties to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he did not believe Iran needed to negotiate with the United States to achieve economic success.

His stance on the issue presents to the public a “completely unrealistic” assessment of Iran’s economic capabilities, said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, an Iran expert and dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“He is firmly against not only any nuclear deal, but any kind of opening measures by the West,” Boroujerdi said.

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