Who will fill Ahmadinejad's boots? The runners and riders in Iran’s 2013 presidential polls

Published May 14th, 2013 - 14:33 GMT

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The countdown has begun for the 2013 Iranian presidential elections, which will mark the end of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s turbulent eight years in office.

Iranians last went to the polls in 2009 for a vote that many hoped would bring real change. But the re-election of Ahmadinejad sparked days of mass protests, which ended in a violent crackdown.

This time round, with Ahmadinejad’s time in office at an end, hundreds of hopefuls are vying for the top job. Continue reading below »

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared alongside his preferred candidate Esfander Rahim Mashaie. The move could backfire for the incumbent, who could face 74 lashes for interfering.
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Image 1 of 12:  1 / 12Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared alongside his preferred candidate Esfander Rahim Mashaie. The move could backfire for the incumbent, who could face 74 lashes for interfering.

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Along with Mashaie, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is the other controversial independent big-hitter to put themselves forward for the vote. His registration marks a return from the political wilderness, where he’s been since the 2009 election.
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Image 2 of 12:  2 / 12Along with Mashaie, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is the other controversial independent big-hitter to put themselves forward for the vote. His registration marks a return from the political wilderness, where he’s been since the 2009 election.

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The chances of Atrat Kazemi making the final cut are slim but her candidacy is a sign that women haven’t been forgotten in Iranian politics.
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Image 3 of 12:  3 / 12The chances of Atrat Kazemi making the final cut are slim but her candidacy is a sign that women haven’t been forgotten in Iranian politics.

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Former parliamentary speaker Gholamali Haddad has formed a coalition with fellow conservatives with close links to Ayatollah Khamenei.
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Image 4 of 12:  4 / 12Former parliamentary speaker Gholamali Haddad has formed a coalition with fellow conservatives with close links to Ayatollah Khamenei.

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Mohsen Rezaee, a former commander in the Revolutionary Guards, is also running.
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Image 5 of 12:  5 / 12Mohsen Rezaee, a former commander in the Revolutionary Guards, is also running.

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Thought to be the candidate preferred by Khamenei, Saeed Jalili has been used as Iran’s chief representative in its nuclear negotiations on the international stage.
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Image 6 of 12:  6 / 12Thought to be the candidate preferred by Khamenei, Saeed Jalili has been used as Iran’s chief representative in its nuclear negotiations on the international stage.

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With close ties to the Khamenei, Velayati has acted in an advisory role for the Supreme Leader and is in the coalition with Haddad. It’s likely that one of the wo will make it through to the next stage of the election.
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Image 7 of 12:  7 / 12With close ties to the Khamenei, Velayati has acted in an advisory role for the Supreme Leader and is in the coalition with Haddad. It’s likely that one of the wo will make it through to the next stage of the election.

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 Iranian photographer Mohammad Mohaimani is unlikely to make it through to the next round but seems to be enjoying putting his name forward.
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Image 8 of 12:  8 / 12 Iranian photographer Mohammad Mohaimani is unlikely to make it through to the next round but seems to be enjoying putting his name forward.

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Conservative cleric Mohammad Bagher Kharazi heads the Iranian Hezbollah Organization and isn’t considered a favourite.
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Image 9 of 12:  9 / 12Conservative cleric Mohammad Bagher Kharazi heads the Iranian Hezbollah Organization and isn’t considered a favourite.

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Mohamad Reza Aref is a former Vice-President and could be seen as a safe pair of hands at a time when the country faces a worsening economic situation.
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Image 10 of 12:  10 / 12Mohamad Reza Aref is a former Vice-President and could be seen as a safe pair of hands at a time when the country faces a worsening economic situation.

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The Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has also put his name forward. He’s previously served as the Chief of Iran’s police and lost out to Mahmoud Ahmadinijad in 2005.
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Image 11 of 12:  11 / 12The Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has also put his name forward. He’s previously served as the Chief of Iran’s police and lost out to Mahmoud Ahmadinijad in 2005.

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Ali Nassiri certainly dressed to impress but isn’t considered likely to make it through to the next stage.
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Image 12 of 12:  12 / 12Ali Nassiri certainly dressed to impress but isn’t considered likely to make it through to the next stage.

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1

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared alongside his preferred candidate Esfander Rahim Mashaie. The move could backfire for the incumbent, who could face 74 lashes for interfering.

Image 1 of 12Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared alongside his preferred candidate Esfander Rahim Mashaie. The move could backfire for the incumbent, who could face 74 lashes for interfering.

2

Along with Mashaie, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is the other controversial independent big-hitter to put themselves forward for the vote. His registration marks a return from the political wilderness, where he’s been since the 2009 election.

Image 2 of 12Along with Mashaie, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is the other controversial independent big-hitter to put themselves forward for the vote. His registration marks a return from the political wilderness, where he’s been since the 2009 election.

3

The chances of Atrat Kazemi making the final cut are slim but her candidacy is a sign that women haven’t been forgotten in Iranian politics.

Image 3 of 12The chances of Atrat Kazemi making the final cut are slim but her candidacy is a sign that women haven’t been forgotten in Iranian politics.

4

Former parliamentary speaker Gholamali Haddad has formed a coalition with fellow conservatives with close links to Ayatollah Khamenei.

Image 4 of 12Former parliamentary speaker Gholamali Haddad has formed a coalition with fellow conservatives with close links to Ayatollah Khamenei.

5

Mohsen Rezaee, a former commander in the Revolutionary Guards, is also running.

Image 5 of 12Mohsen Rezaee, a former commander in the Revolutionary Guards, is also running.

6

Thought to be the candidate preferred by Khamenei, Saeed Jalili has been used as Iran’s chief representative in its nuclear negotiations on the international stage.

Image 6 of 12Thought to be the candidate preferred by Khamenei, Saeed Jalili has been used as Iran’s chief representative in its nuclear negotiations on the international stage.

7

With close ties to the Khamenei, Velayati has acted in an advisory role for the Supreme Leader and is in the coalition with Haddad. It’s likely that one of the wo will make it through to the next stage of the election.

Image 7 of 12With close ties to the Khamenei, Velayati has acted in an advisory role for the Supreme Leader and is in the coalition with Haddad. It’s likely that one of the wo will make it through to the next stage of the election.

8

 Iranian photographer Mohammad Mohaimani is unlikely to make it through to the next round but seems to be enjoying putting his name forward.

Image 8 of 12 Iranian photographer Mohammad Mohaimani is unlikely to make it through to the next round but seems to be enjoying putting his name forward.

9

Conservative cleric Mohammad Bagher Kharazi heads the Iranian Hezbollah Organization and isn’t considered a favourite.

Image 9 of 12Conservative cleric Mohammad Bagher Kharazi heads the Iranian Hezbollah Organization and isn’t considered a favourite.

10

Mohamad Reza Aref is a former Vice-President and could be seen as a safe pair of hands at a time when the country faces a worsening economic situation.

Image 10 of 12Mohamad Reza Aref is a former Vice-President and could be seen as a safe pair of hands at a time when the country faces a worsening economic situation.

11

The Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has also put his name forward. He’s previously served as the Chief of Iran’s police and lost out to Mahmoud Ahmadinijad in 2005.

Image 11 of 12The Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has also put his name forward. He’s previously served as the Chief of Iran’s police and lost out to Mahmoud Ahmadinijad in 2005.

12

Ali Nassiri certainly dressed to impress but isn’t considered likely to make it through to the next stage.

Image 12 of 12Ali Nassiri certainly dressed to impress but isn’t considered likely to make it through to the next stage.

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While Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayattolah Ali Khameini may have hoped this year’s polls would quietly install a loyal conservative president, the candidacies of two major independents, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie--the nationalist protégé of Ahmadinejad, and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and Iran's best known political grandee--could shatter the leader’s dreams.

The 686 registered candidates will be screened by the Guardian Council, who will judge the heavy hitters and hopefuls on their qualifications and loyalty to the Islamic Republic ready for a shortlist to be announced later this month.

Here are some of the runners and riders hoping to compete in the June 14 vote.

Who do you want to be the next president of Iran? Will this vote be as chaotic as the last? Share your comments with us below!

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