The Iranian vice president for parliamentary affairs says President Hassan Rouhani is to partake in the country’s 2017 presidential polls.
“Over the past weeks, [President] Rouhani has come to the conclusion that he will participate in the presidential elections,” Hossein-Ali Amiri told a news conference on Sunday.
Iran’s 12th presidential elections will be held in May. The contest is monitored by the Guardian Council.
Amiri touched on the government's recent distribution of foodstuff, which Guardian Council Chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati has found fault with, interpreting it as “premature electoral campaigning.”
“The government respects Ayatollah Jannati’s admonition as the head of the Guardian Council, which oversees the elections…. Ayatollah Jannati has delivered the warning out of sympathy and in the interest of the [Islamic] establishment,” Amiri said.
Distribution of the humanitarian aid is underway based on internal decision-making by relief organizations, he said, adding that Rouhani had not even decided to join the elections at the time.
“Mr. Rouhani has repeatedly asserted at government meetings that the public properties should not be spent for or against anyone in any election,” he Amiri said.
Rouhani vowed a tough stance on corruption last year amid controversy over high payments made to people in managerial positions in the country, saying, “I have not made a pledge of fraternity to anyone.”
“What is important for the government is that the process of the elections features passion, legality, and people’s complete trust. The most important capital, which we should create in the establishment to defuse speculations is the creation of trust,” Amiri said.
Principlists and Reformists are archrivals in the elections. Before Rouhani, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad served as Iran's president for two terms for eight years but he has decided not to join the race this time around.
Observers say Rouhani’s successful diplomacy to clinch the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and his administration’s reigning of high inflation stands to court voters.
However, criticism has been mounting over crippling power outages, water supply cuts, and sandstorms in the oil-rich Khuzestan province.
Also expressing interest in the competition so far have been Mostafa Kavakebian, a reformist parliamentarian, and Hamid Baghaei, a former vice president for Ahmadinejad.