Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Iran's Rafsanjani ready to stand again for presidency : HindustanTimes.com

Iran's Rafsanjani ready to stand again for presidency : HindustanTimes.com: "Iran's Rafsanjani says ready to stand again for presidency
Agence France-Presse
Tehran, August 31

Powerful former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has again refused to rule out standing again for the presidency in elections next year, press reports said on Tuesday.
"If my presence is considered necessary for the regime and fore the revolution, I will not hesitate for a single moment," Rafsanjani was quoted as saying in a meeting with a conservative group.

The charismatic cleric served as president from 1989 to 1997, but remains one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic republic. Often classed as a "pragmatic conservative", he is currently head of the Expediency Council, Iran's top political arbitration body.

The second and final term of Iran's current president, Mohammad Khatami, ends in June 2005. The Iranian constitution only bars politicians from serving more than two terms consecutively.

Recent weeks have seen increased speculation over who will contest the polls next year. The embattled reformist movement is seeking to convince former prime minister Mirhossein Mussavi to be their candidate.

On the conservative side, potential candidates include former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, now an advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei. Other names cited include to national security official Hassan Rowhani and former state media chief Ali Larijani."

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