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Who Will Be Iran's Next President?

Wanted: A few good men to run for Iranian president. Candidates must have strong management skills and commitment to Islamic and revolutionary values. Applicants who are unwaveringly loyal and fully obedient to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exhibit strong anti-Western leanings, and can present a documented history of hard-line political and religious views will receive preference. All entries will be vetted by the Guardians Council. Oppositionists need not apply.

These are among the traits and qualifications expected of candidates who plan to run in Iran's June 14 presidential election, according to Iran observers and comments coming from within the supreme leader's inner circle.

In November, the supreme leader's representative in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Hojatoleslam Ali Saeedi, listed management skills and revolutionary and Islamic values as prerequisites for "suitable and competent" candidates.

Iran observers have narrowed the list further, saying the contest will essentially be waged among traditionalists and the new guard within the conservative camp. Reformists or figures close to outgoing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad are given virtually no chance to win, if they choose to throw their hats into the ring at all.

As Washington D.C.-based political analyst Ali Afshari put its, the Islamic regime is looking for a more civilized Ahmadinejad -- that is, in the mold of the current president before he began challenging the supreme leader.

There is a long way to go before a comprehensive and official candidates list can be compiled -- none is yet confirmed -- but names are already being floated. Eventually, according to Habibollah Asgarolad, secretary-general of Iran's Islamic Coalition Party, there will be 40 potential candidates, with 25 from the conservative camp.

So, knowing the qualifications expected and the likely introduction of electoral reforms that could weed out many potential candidates, who is poised to contend? Here's a rundown.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari