Rouhani's main rival registers to run in Iranian presidential election

Several former ministers and hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are among those who have registered.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration earlier this year announced it was putting Iran "on notice" in part over its ballistic missile tests, and last week pounded a Syrian air base with cruise missiles in response to a chemical weapons attack.

The registration for presidential elections officially started on April 11 and will end on April 15.

Experts said the reformist Jahangiri could be running as a potential alternative should Rouhani be disqualified by the Guardian Council, which vets candidates before they can appear on the ballot.

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He registered to run on the same day as did his former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, saying at the time his decision was meant to support his political ally. Every Iranian president since Khamenei himself took the presidency in 1981 has won re-election. The article referenced the same site's 9th annual report on the death penalty in Iran, in order to showcase the fact that judicially-sanctioned killings have only increased in frequency under Rouhani's leadership.

Khamenei and his hardline allies have strongly criticized the slow pace of economic revival since the lifting of sanctions past year, part of the nuclear deal with six major powers whereby Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program.

Tehran's conservative Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is also among the high-profile candidates. Catherine Shakdam, independent political analyst and author, told Radio Sputnik's Brian Becker the mainstream media's portrayal Ahmadinejad as a daring politician defying the wish of the supreme leader didn't strike her as correct. Iran has since resumed selling oil and signed deals worth billions of dollars to replace its aging commercial airline inventory.

"Rouhani was elected primarily on the promise of elevating the economic position of Iranians", Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow for the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council for Foreign Relations, said before the president registered his candidacy.

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Rouhani also mentioned the giant joint gas field, the North Field, Iran will be developing with Qatar.

News of Ahmadinejad's bid became the topic of discussion across Tehran, leading news bulletins Wednesday night. The council has not allowed women to run in the past.

"It was very weird, but it could be entertainment for people", 31-year-old nurse Roya Khani said.

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