Hardliner opts out of Iranian prez polls
Khamenei aide withdraws from June 14 elections; aims to unify hardline vote, deflect moderate challengerworld Updated: Jun 11, 2013 02:21 IST
The 12-man Guardian Council, largely under the sway of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had already barred all but eight of the 686 people who registered as candidates, including pragmatic ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
That left four hardliners, separated only by small differences on issues such as Iran’s nuclear stand-off with the West, facing a lone independent outsider and two relative moderates who may be able to generate popular support.
Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, a close adviser to Khamenei related to him by marriage, had been one of three so-called “Principlist” conservative candidates alongside Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati before announcing on Monday he was dropping out.