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On June 14, the people of Iran voted overwhelmingly to elect Hassan Rohani as their new President. With more than 50 percent of the vote, the moderate Rohani beat his more conservative rivals convincingly enough to avoid a second round run-off vote. Rohani’s election has met with cautious optimism in the West that relations with Iran, so strained under Rohani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, may improve. Follow here euronews’ continuous coverage of the 2013 Iranian presidential election and its aftermath.

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The candidates

  • Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
    Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
    Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (born 23 August 1961) is the current mayor of the capital Tehran. He is described as a pragmatic conservative, loyal to the Supreme Leader. A former military and police commander, he began his career as a soldier during the Iran-Iraq war. After the war, he became managing director of an engineering firm controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. He was appointed commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force in 1996 by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Four years later, he became chief of the Iranian Police Forces. He was also appointed as a representative of President Mohammad Khatami to combat smuggling in 2002. He ran for the presidency in 2005. Two months later, he was elected mayor of Tehran. He holds a Ph.D in political geography and is a professor at the University of Tehran.
  • Mohsen Rezaee
    Mohsen Rezaee
    Mohsen Rezaee (9 September 1954) is an economist and former military commander. He is currently Secretary of the influential Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran headed by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Before that he was commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps for 16 years. During the 1979 revolution, he was a member of the radical paramilitary group "Mansuran". Rezai ran as a conservative presidential candidate in the 2009 election, whose result he initially contested. He has been highly critical of outgoing president Ahmadinejad's government, particularly on economic issues. Rezaee is said to be closely associated with the online news website Tabnak.
  • Hassan Rouhani
    Hassan Rouhani
    Hassan Rohani (born 12 November 1948) is an Iranian politician and Shia cleric. He has been a member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999, member of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Expediency Council since 1991, member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989, and head of the Centre for Strategic Research since 1992. Rohani has also been deputy speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly and was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005. In this capacity, he headed Iran's former nuclear negotiating team and was the country's top negotiator with the EU-3 (UK, France, and Germany) on Iran's nuclear programme. He has pledged to prepare a "civil rights charter", restore the economy and improve rocky relations with the West if he is elected.
  • Saeed Jalili
    Saeed Jalili
    Saeed Jalili (born 6 September 1965) is the present secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. In 2007, he replaced Ali Larijani as Council Secretary and Chief Nuclear Negotiator of Iran. He was previously Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs. He joined the paramilitary Basij force and served as a volunteer in the Iran-Iraq war, where he lost his right leg. He holds a Ph. D and wrote his thesis on the "political thought in the Koran". He is described as an intellectual loyal to Islamic ideals.
  • Ali Akbar Velayati
    Ali Akbar Velayati
    Ali Akbar Velayati (born 25 June 1945) is the Supreme Leader's long-standing advisor on international affairs and Iran's longest-serving minister since the 1979 revolution - he was Minister of Foreign Affairs for more than 16 years from 1981 to 1997. A qualified medical doctor, he served as deputy health minister from 1980 to 1981. He is also Secretary-General of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening.
  • Mohammad Gharazi
    Mohammad Gharazi
    Mohammad Gharazi (born 5 October 1941) is described as a moderate figure and is running under the campaign slogan of "government of no inflation". He studied engineering in Iran and France and was politically active during the Shah's rule. As a result, he was sent to prison and later moved abroad. After his return, he held various posts including as Oil Minister and Telecommunications Minister.
  • Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel
    Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel
    CANDIDACY WITHDRAWN
    Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel (born 9 May 1945) is an Iranian philosopher, politician and former chairman of the Iranian parliament - he is the first non-cleric in the post since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. He is a conservative viewed as completely loyal to the Supreme Leader - his daughter is the wife of Ayatollah Khamenei's son.
  • Mohammad-Reza Aref
    Mohammad-Reza Aref
    CANDIDACY WITHDRAWN
    Mohammad Reza Aref (born 19 December 1951) is an Iranian academic and reformist politician. Seen as intelligent and well-educated, he studied electrical engineering at Stanford University and currently teaches at Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology. He was First Vice President from 2001 to 2005 under President Mohammad Khatami and served as Minister of Technology in Khatami's first cabinet. He is currently a member of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution and Expediency Discernment Council.

Electoral campaign issues

The nuclear question

Several rounds of talks between Iran and world powers since 2012 have not led to any major breakthrough in the impasse over Tehran's nuclear enrichment. Tehran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons. However, the United States and its allies are concerned Iran will develop the atomic bomb, which could shift the balance of power in the region. It's also feared this could give Tehran allies Hezbollah access to nuclear material. Iran claims its nuclear aim is solely for energy and medical purposes, and refuses to stop processing and enriching uranium. Israel has warned it will never allow Iranian leaders to develop a nuclear weapon and has said it is keeping options open to attack Iran's nuclear sites. But Washington and other Western allies have so far resorted to a combination of diplomacy and economic sanctions to put pressure on Tehran.

Sanctions

The US and the EU have stepped up international sanctions on Tehran in recent years, especially targeting Iran's vital oil exports and limiting its access to global financial networks. Oil sales, which represent Iran's main source of foreign currency, have been cut by more than half. In addition, new sanctions that will go into effect in July will target Iran's ports and shipping sectors, and especially gold sales to Iran, which have become a critical source of revenue. However, Iran has said it is reducing its dependency on oil by developing an "economy of resistance". This includes replacing imports by locally produced goods and pushing for barter deals with other countries, as well as the sale of refined petroleum products, which are not covered by sanctions. Iran also announced plans to increase investments abroad and reduce taxes in an attempt to encourage domestic industry.

The economy

Like in previous presidential elections, the economy is at the centre of the debate, with a large number candidates criticising outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies of subsidies and handouts.
The national currency, the rial, has been in freefall against the US dollar, diving from around 10,000 to the dollar to more than 35,000 in the past two years. This has pushed up inflation, tripling the price of some goods. While the official unemployment figure stands at 13 percent, many economists believe it could actually be more than twice as high.

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