Iran’s Guardian Council Predetermines Election Results

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday expressed his support for the nation’s Guardian Council decision, announced Wednesday, to disqualify a string of reformist candidates from running in the upcoming presidential elections.

The move, which all but ensures victory for hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, who currently serves as Iran’s chief justice, was panned by officials across the political spectrum and presidential hopefuls.

Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani said that the conservative Council had “forgotten that the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy is guaranteed by people’s votes” and warned of low turnout that would undermine the regime’s legitimacy. “God forbid the day comes when the people feel we don’t care about them,” Rouhani wrote in a letter to Khamenei Wednesday, unsuccessfully imploring him to intervene.

Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was one of those barred from running, vowed to boycott the elections.

The June 18 event will be closely followed by the United States and Western countries, who fear a new hard-line president, paired with an already hard-line parliament, may back out of ongoing nuclear negotiations and strike a more aggressive approach.

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