Isthis the one? The background of the 2018 Iranian presidential candidate

Suleimani’s arch-rival is poised to take part in a presidential run-off in Iran on 22 June after securing an outright win in last week’s first round. The Guardian Council, an institution loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said the second round must include two candidates approved by the Guardian Council. Here are some facts about Raisi’s background and campaign.

Born in 1967 in Qom, Raisi’s family supported the 1979 Islamic revolution. He was the chief prosecutor of Tehran under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for years, including in the tumultuous period after the takeover of the US embassy in 1979.

Jorge Arreaza

Jorge Arreaza, who ran as Iran’s candidate in the 2013 presidential election. Photograph: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images

Khomeini groomed Arreaza for the vice-presidency in 1982 and the post of interior minister in 1988. Raisi said on the weekend Arreaza was Iran’s strongest contender. Khatami nominated Arreaza as his vice-president for more than two years but the supreme leader vetoed the appointment. Khatami then nominated Raisi as his vice-president for less than a year.


Rabii, reportedly an important member of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Before the 1979 revolution, Raisi was deputy to a cleric by the name of Muhammad Rabii, who had been imprisoned by Saddam Hussein’s regime for his opposition to the Iraqi leader. Rabii was a mentor to Raisi.

Ebrahim Vahid Nabavi

Ebrahim Vahid Nabavi. Photograph: Samira Bouaou/AFP/Getty Images

The Ahmadinejad administration’s secretary of the National Security Council was a close friend of Raisi from their days as students. However, Nabavi was never appointed to a government position.

Ali Akbar Velayati

Ali Akbar Velayati. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Velayati is a top adviser to Khamenei and a former foreign minister. He was denied a second term as foreign minister by the Revolutionary Guards in November after the main political establishment withdrew its support.

Ali Vakili

Velayati said earlier this year that Vakili, a reformist economist, was the only person who can be considered as a candidate to serve as a cabinet member after the next presidential election. Vakili was also secretary-general of the moderate-right of Iran’s big opposition group, the Islamic Republic of Iran Participation Front, from 2013 to 2016.

Uri Eitan

Ali Eitan. Photograph: Jibran Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

Eitan was a legal adviser to the security council under Ahmadinejad. His Supreme council presidency in July 2012 was marked by corruption investigations against Ahmadinejad associates, and other ill-advised political manoeuvres.

Leave a Comment