By Nader Uskowi
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani today registered to run for another term as president in the 14 June election. The long-anticipated decision came only minutes before the deadline.
Rafsanjani will now be the frontrunner in the race and his entry would change the composition of the race significantly. The ‘principlist’ (conservative) groups who have fielded a number of candidates are now expected to attempt uniting behind a single candidate capable to challenge Rafsanjani. The name most discussed is Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 78 years old, has served as president of Iran for eight years (1989-1997); as speaker of Majlis for nine years (1980-1989) and was the de facto commander-in-chief of the Iranian armed forces during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). He is currently the chairman of the Expediency Council. A new Rafsanjani presidency would be seen as the complete repudiation of eight years of hardline policies championed by Ahmadinejad and a new beginning to bring normalcy to the country’s economy and its foreign relations.
Iran’s 2013 Presidential Election Series:
Part I: Running for President
Part II: Supreme Leadership Redefined
Part III: Iran’s Presidential Race Gets Underway
File photo: Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani (left) with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (khamenei.ir)