[Former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati shows his inked finger after registration for Iran's 11th presidential election at the Interior Ministry in Tehran on May 11, 2013. Candidates' registration for the June 14 presidential election was over on May 11. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz) ]
TEHRAN, (Xinhua) : The latest report released by Iran’s Interior Ministry showed a total of 686 candidates have registered for the upcoming presidential election slated for June 14.
Among the contestants from diverse walks of life, a number of prominent conservative and moderate political figures as well as incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s independent candidate have more chances of winning the race.
Several conservative figures, or “principlists,” as some of them prefer to be referred to, have signed up for the forthcoming race.
On Saturday afternoon when the registration deadline was about to terminate, to many’s surprise, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili appeared in Iran’s Interior Ministry and made an announcement about his decision to run for the country’s upcoming presidential contest.
Other hopefuls, either before or on the registration day, made comments on their campaigns, but Jalili left the Interior Ministry without making any remarks or talking to reporters.
A hardliner conservative, he currently leads Iran’s negotiation team with the world powers on the country’s nuclear issue and is also secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
On Saturday, Mayor of Iranian capital Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, also signed up for the election.
Qalibaf, a member of the Principlist Coalition of 2+1 which also includes former Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati, told reporters that he runs for president to turn words into actions.
Commenting on Iran’s nuclear issue, he said that “Today, the Islamic establishment enjoys key opportunities in international arena and in diplomatic sectors to take fast paces to resolve the nuclear issue.”
He also said he will fight against financial corruption and discrimination in close cooperation with Iran’s judiciary system.
Besides, Velayati vowed on Saturday to protect the ” achievements” in the country’s nuclear program, after recently saying that amicable ties with neighboring states will serve Iran’ s national interests and guarantee its national security.
Velayati, who currently serves as a senior advisor to Supreme Leader of the Islamic republic Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he will do his utmost to ease sanctions slapped on Iran by Western governments over the country’s disputed nuclear project.
Editor: Tang Danlu