Iran’s presidential election is set to kick off on June 14 when many Iranians will decide on the successor to current leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the forthcoming election was an opportunity to testify to the people’s confidence in the Islamic establishment.
“Judging from the current situation, the election will be vital important. Iran is currently facing sanctions, pressure and military threats from the western world.
Meanwhile the nuclear issue is still under negotiation. The next president must have the ability to meet those challenges,” said Naghavi Hosseini, a spokesman with the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iran’s Majlis, or Parliament.
On Monday, US President Barack Obama approved a new executive order, expanding sanctions against Iran to target the Islamic republic’s currency for the first time. Many believe that the US is more willing to push Iran into reform than a military strike.
However, Iran seems unwilling to compromise. Among the eight presidential candidates, five are conservatives, including Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and Tehran’s Mayor Mohammad-Bagher Qalibaf.
“I think the conservatives are going to win the election, because the country is still moving on the path of conservatism in a general direction,” said Mehrdad Lahouti, an Iranian parliament member.
The president is the second leader in Iran after the Supreme Leader, and it’s the top official elected directly by voters.
Although the Iranian presidency doesn’t have the power of final decision making, it does play a key role in forming national policy, making it an important member of Iran’s National Security Commission. So many believe that the upcoming election will be an indicator of Iran’s future direction.
“If the next president wins the election by far more votes than rivals, say 20 or 30 millions of votes, he will be able to better protect Iran’s national interest in the international arena, regarding the nuclear talks with the six other countries, the removal of sanctions on Iran, and regional issues especially the Syrian conflict. All these demand strong support from Iranians,” said Hussein Moghaddam, a political commentator in Iran.
Meanwhile, Iranians are expecting more on the upcoming presidential election.
“We need a president capable in the fields of both economics and politics, so that he can better help our country. And all Iranians have the obligation to vote in the election,” said Rezaei, a carpet retailer in Tehran.
“Iran now needs a candidate who is firm in stance of resistance, just like Jalili. He managed to protect Iran’s interest in the nuclear talks. We wish him to be the president,” said Zudatbei, a university student.
According to Iran’s Interior Ministry, nearly 50.5 million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election contended by eight candidates — most of whom are conservatives.