Presidential hopeful Saeed Jalili

Iranian Hardliner Saeed Jalili Declares Presidential Candidacy

Sunday, 05/26/2024

Saeed Jalili, Ali Khamenei's representative in the Supreme National Security Council, is set to run in the upcoming presidential election after having run in both 2013 and 2020, as Khamenei lines up his staunchest allies.

Jalili received a delegation of four representatives from Mashhad at his office to invite him to enter the presidential race as Khamenei ensures a line-up of hardliners in the upcoming elections in the wake of the sudden death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash last week.

Jalili, who has held significant diplomatic and security roles within the Iranian government, served as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 2007 to 2013 and is currently a member of the Expediency Discernment Council.

Known for his hardline stance, Jalili was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and has previously served as the deputy foreign minister for European and American Affairs. Despite his positions, his bids for presidency have yet to secure him the office, with a third-place finish in the 2013 elections and a withdrawal in favor of Ebrahim Raisi in the 2021 elections.

Jalili's return to the presidential race comes amidst whispers of political maneuvering, with some suggesting that recent shifts in leadership, including the rumors of assassination of Raisi by Khamenei’s son Mojtaba, might be clearing the way for new power alignments. 

A hardline ballot of clerics and military figures are among the politicians who look set to stand for the June 28 snap elections, with candidates likely to include Parviz Fattah, a former IRGC officer and currently the head of the multi-billion-dollar economic empire controlled by Iran's Supreme Leader.

Also likely is Mehrdad Bazrpash, the current transport minister who was aboard one of the other helicopters flying with Raisi's doomed delegation, and Alireza Zakani, the current mayor of Tehran, who, like Jalil, dropped out of the 2021 presidential race to back favorite, Raisi.

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