Iran Election: conservative Velayati gaining momentum ahead of polls
Iranian advisor to the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and hopeful conservative presidential candidate, Ali Akbar Velayati (Atta Kenare/ AFP)
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A prominent clerical group on Sunday endorsed Ali Akbar Velayati to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's President, according to AFP.
The veteran diplomat was selected as the Qom Seminary Scholars Association's preferred candidate at a meeting on Saturday, the Mehr news agency reported.
Thr association is one of the two leading conservative clerical groups in Qom city - the other is yet to endorse a candidate for the elections scheduled for June 14.
Velayati currently serves as senior foreign policy advider to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and is one of the leading conservative candidates in the field. So far his campaign has centred on pledges to revive Iran's ailing economy, which is suffering from Western-imposed santions over the country's nuclear programme.
Khamenei stressed last week that the next president shouldn't make concessions to the West but said that he'll remain impartial in the race for the presidency.