Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Daily Telegraph | Iran's Rafsanjani to stand for president

The Daily Telegraph | Iran's Rafsanjani to stand for president: "Iran's Rafsanjani to stand for president

From correspondents in Tehran, Iran

May 11, 2005

POWERFUL Iranian cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani officially confirmed today that he would stand again for president in June 17 elections, his spokesman said.

"He is a candidate and will announce the reasons for his candidacy in a public declaration," said Expediency Council spokesman Reza Soleimani.
"Finally his worries over the present situation have outweighed his doubts," Mr Soleimani said.

Mr Rafsanjani, 70, is seen as a pragmatic conservative more open to improved ties with the West and in favour of liberalising the state-dominated economy.

A number of informal opinion polls have placed him far ahead of what is expected to be a field of mostly hardline contenders.

The charismatic politician held the Islamic republic's presidency from 1989 to 1997, and presently heads the Expediency Council - Iran's top political arbitration body.