Esteemed political scientist, Prof Sadegh Zibakalam of the University of Tehran, outlined his analysis on the four main Principalist candidates: Ebrahim Raisi, Mohsen Rezaei, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and Saeed Jalili. Zibakalam argued that Raisi would be a clear favourite as he is the candidate most likely to win at this stage, however it is not clear if he will accept an invitation from the two prominent Princpalist organisations, the Coalition Council and the Unity Council, to run. In Zibakalam’s view, the Principalist choice is between Raisi and Qalibaf at the moment, and other candidates like Saeed Mohammad, Ali Nikzad, Ezzatollah Zarghami and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh, stand no chance of being supported by the Principalist bloc. For Saeed Mohammad, the problem is that he is too much like a young Ahmadinejad, and the Principalist camp of 2021 is not going to make the same choice as the did in 2005. However, Zibakalam added that if Raisi does not run, Saeed Mohammad would still pose a threat to whomever the Princpalists chose, effectively splitting the conservative vote.
Potential candidate and senior IRGC officer Mohsen Rezaei outlined his plan to reform the military and replace conscripts with professional soldiers in the long term. Rezaei argued the youth could be mobilised to strengthen the country through increased production. Rezaei’s comments were in response to current parliamentary debates aimed at remedying the high number of Iranian youth seeking exemption from conscription.