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Possible presidential front-runners in Iran

Saturday - 5/4/2013, 12:53pm  ET

Iran's former nuclear negotiator, Hasan Rohani, a potential front-runner in the presidential race, addresses, in a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, May 2, 2013. One candidate stresses Iran's need to find ways to persuade the world that it can possess nuclear technology without building a bomb. Another thinks Iran's international reputation has taken unwelcome hits from the diatribes of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. More than a few say there's no reason Washington must remain a permanent enemy. While the race to succeed Ahmadinejad still hasn't reached the official starting gate _ formal registration for candidates begins next week _ comments from presumed front-runners for the June 14 ballot offer an overview that suggests less bombast and more measured diplomacy from Iran's highest elected leader. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The Associated Press

The following are potential front-runners in Iran's June 14 presidential elections. The list of candidates will be announced later this month after vetting by Iran's ruling clerics:

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ALI AKBAR VELAYATI: Top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on international affairs. Velayati, 67, Served as foreign minister during the 1980-88 war with Iraq and into the 1990s. He is a physician and runs a hospital in north Tehran. He was among the suspects named by Argentina in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

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MOHAMMAD BAGHER QALIBAF: Tehran mayor and former commander of the Revolutionary Guard during the Iran-Iraq war. Qalibaf, 51, is a pilot who enjoys good relations with Khamenei.

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HASAN ROWHANI: A former nuclear negotiator and Khamenei's representative at the Supreme National Security Council, which also handles the nuclear dossier. Rowhani, 64, is a British-educated cleric.

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MOHAMMAD REZA AREF: Liberal-leaning former vice president under reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Aref, 62, a former Tehran University chancellor, said he would drop out of race if Khatami decides to run.

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ESFANDIAR RAHIM MASHAEI: A top adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and married to Ahmadinejad's daughter. His candidacy is being heavily promoted by Ahmadinejad, but he will face serious hurdles during the vetting by the Guardian Council, which must approve all candidates. Mashaei, 52, was denounced as leader of a "deviant current" during Ahmadinejad's political showdowns with Khamenei.

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MOHSEN REZAEI: Former chief commander of the Revolutionary Guard. Rezaei, 58, ran in 2009, but finished fourth. He is currently secretary of the Expediency Council, which mediates between the parliament and Guardian Council.


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