Iran's Interior Ministry has announced the official shortlist of candidates that will be vying to succeed President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in that country's June 14 election. Eight men passed the vetting process overseen by the powerful Guardians Council, which is dominated by conservatives loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The 47-year-old Jalili has been Iran's chief nuclear negotiator since 2007. He is also a special representative of the supreme leader.
Jalili represents the second generation of Islamic revolutionaries, and lost his leg during the Iran-Iraq War. Jalili reportedly has the backing of ultraconservative cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who was seen as President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's spiritual adviser. Jalili also appears to have Supreme Leader Khamenei's support and trusti. Jalili, who began his career as a diplomat in the 1990s, is a hard-liner who has received backing from Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
ALI AKBAR VELAYATI
Velayati, 67, is the top adviser to Khamenei on international affairs. He served as foreign minister during the 1980-88 war with Iraq and into the 1990s.
Velayati has the support of many influential figures in the conservative camp. He gave up plans to contest the 2005 presidential vote after former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani announced plans to run.
After studying pediatrics in Iran, Velayati specialized in infectious diseases at Baltimore's John Hopkins University in the 1970s. He is a physicist and runs a hospital in northern Tehran. He has been accused by Argentina of involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires
that killed 85 people.
MOHAMMAD BAQER QALIBAF
The 51-year-old Qalibaf is the current mayor of Tehran. Qalibaf, who is considered a moderate conservative, was also a senior IRGC commander.
In 1996, Khamenei appointed Qalibaf as IRGC Air Force commander, after which he trained as a pilot. He held the post for three years.
In Iran's 2005 presidential race, he took just 14 percent of the vote, failing to reach the second round. Qalibaf has attracted growing support within the clerical establishment because of his management skills. Qalibaf, who was born in northeastern Iran, holds a doctorate in political geography from Tehran University.
Rezai, 58, is a former chief commander of the IRGC. He ran in the 2009 presidential race but finished fourth, with less than 2 percent of the vote.
Rezai ran a campaign that blasted Ahmadinejad's mismanagement of the economy. He is not considered a strong or charismatic candidate.
Rezai currently holds the position of secretary of the Expediency Council, which mediates between parliament and the Guardians Council.
GHOLAM ALI HADDAD-ADEL
Haddad-Adel, 68, was the parliament speaker from 2005 to 2008. He is currently a member of the Expediency Council and is considered a strong conservative voice.
Haddad-Adel's daughter is married to one of the supreme leader's sons. Haddad-Adel, who is a close confidant of Khamenei's, has held a number of government posts, including deputy minister of Islamic guidance, deputy minister of education, and head of Iran's Academy of Persian Language and Literature.
Haddad-Adel, who was born in Tehran, has a doctorate in philosophy from Tehran University, where he holds a position in the philosophy department.
MOHAMMAD REZA AREF
Aref, 61, is a relative moderate who served as vice president under former reformist President Mohammad Khatami. He was expected to draw support from the reformist camp, which was marginalized after the mass protests that followed Iran's 2009 election.
Aref is a university professor at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. During Khatami's presidency, Aref held various posts, including minister of information and communication technology. Aref registered to run in Iran's 2008 parliamentary election, but withdrew in protest against the disqualification of reformist candidates.
The 64-year-old cleric is a former nuclear negotiator and Khamenei's representative on the Supreme National Security Council, which also handles the country's nuclear program.
Rohani is a member of the Assembly of Experts, a body that has the authority to elect and remove the supreme leader. Rohani, a former deputy speaker of parliament, is close to former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was disqualified as a candidate for this election.
In 2003, Rohani became Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and held the post until Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005. Since then, Rohani has criticized the outgoing Ahmadinejad's economic policies and confrontational behavior on the international stage.
The former oil and telecommunications minister is the least well-known of the eight presidential candidates.
Gharazi, 71, served in parliament in the 1980s and 1990s. He is considered a conservative and a technocrat.
Gharazi was once a member of the exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO). Gharazi reportedly left the MKO before the group left for Iraq to fight alongside Saddam Hussein in the Iraq-Iran War.
-- Frud Bezhan