Two new candidates announced they are running for President. Former IRGC and Basij officer Ali-Reza Afshar became the latest military candidate; as the former head of Iran’s Election Headquarters, Afshar has insider knowledge of the workings of the electoral system. The second candidate, Sadegh Khalilian, became the latest Ahmadinejad Era cabinet member to nominate; Khalilian has put forward a conservative anti-corruption economic platform alongside a general repudiation of the current administration’s policies.
Masoud Pezeshkian told a gathering of university students from the Student Basij Organisation that he would withdraw from the election if public opinion demands it, or at the request of the Supreme Leader, but he would not withdraw for factional reasons. Pezeshkian, a Reformist who is popular with some conservative elements of Iranian society (particularly in Iranian Azerbaijan), told the students that he opposes “the view that sees the people as either good or bad. Anyone who works for the growth of this country is a basiji”, adding that his motto was that “knowledge, collectivity and faith are a triangle that moves mountains”.