Officials in Iran have begun registering candidates for next month’s presidential election, the first since Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection led to months of violent protests in 2009.
Potential candidates have five days to register and will then be vetted by the Guardians Council, the conservative religious body appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The remaining candidates then have four weeks to campaign before the June 11 vote.
Political conservatives are expected to dominate the race, with Iran’s marginalized reformists yet to produce a solid candidate.
Ahmadinejad, who cannot run again because of term limits, is expected to support the candidacy of his former chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.
The election comes as Iran is facing increasing economic difficulties in the face of international sanctions over its controversial nuclear program.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa