Registration to run in Iran's election on May 19 closed on Saturday, with more than 1,600 hopefuls throwing their hats in the ring. Under Iranian law, there's no fee for registering. It's still a lot of candidates, though.
Most of the analysts believe that Rouhani, Raisi and Ahmadinejad will be the three major candidates with political weight and ideological reflection, whose competition can heat up the furnace of election in Iran next month.
"The nuclear deal is a legal document and a pact".
Influential Shia cleric Ebrahim Raisi, an ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appears to be the leading hardline candidate so far.
Human rights issues, including the ongoing house arrest of Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were a significant part of Rouhani's presidential campaign in 2013, but he failed to follow through on any promises in this area.
Rouhani's defended the policy of 'strengthening the defensive prowess of Iran's Armed Forces'.
According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, Raisi's candidacy alone is "a serious setback for a country striving to rejoin the worldwide community" because of his "leading role in crimes against humanity during the 1980s", including the massacre of up to 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. That's not to say it will be easy for Rouhani.
The upcoming vote will be seen, among other things, as a referendum on the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, under which Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of global sanctions. For voters, the economy matters. The applicants will then be vetted by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that will announce a final list of candidates by April 27.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had registered for the upcoming Iranian presidential election.
In relevant remarks in February, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami underlined that the United States pressures can not debilitate Iran's determination and will to progress. "In the Islamic Republic, the officials and the supreme leader have approved of it and declared their commitment to it", he said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2nd L), Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (2nd R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) wait with others ahead of a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 26, 2015.
The Iranian president said that revival of social ethics and the rights of citizenship, transparency as well as free circulation of information would still be on the agenda of his program for the next term of presidency, if elected.