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Explainer: Who's running for Iran's presidency?

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Iranians have a choice between seven mostly hardline candidates in a president election on June 18.

But one man – not in the contest – is set to reinforce his authority no matter the outcome:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's strongly anti-Western Supreme Leader.

In the Islamic Republic's dual system of republican and clerical rule the president heads the government but reports to the Supreme Leader, the country's top authority.

Clerical officials who vetted the candidates rejected several prominent moderates and conservatives,

resulting in a field of five hardliners and two low-key moderates.

Let's take a look at who they are.

The front-runner is Ebrahim Raisi,

a hardline judge seen by insiders as representing the security establishment at its most fearsome.

Washington describes him as a member of Khamenei's "inner circle."

In 2019, he was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2019 for human rights abuses, including the 1980s executions of thousands of political prisoners.

Iran has never acknowledged the mass executions, and Raisi himself has never publicly addressed allegations about his role.

Saeed Jalili - a hardline diplomat - is fiercely loyal to Khamenei.

He lost his right leg in the 1980s when fighting for the elite Revolutionary Guards in the Iran-Iraq war.

Jalili served as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for five years

a position that automatically made him chief negotiator on nuclear affairs.

Abdolnaser Hemmati is a former ambassador to China and a pragmatist technocrat

who had served as Iran's Central Bank chief since 2018 for three years.

Mohsen Rezae was top commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards

who led the elite force during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.

Mohsen Mehralizadeh is a former governor of Iran's Isfahan province.

The moderate politician was elected as first vice president in 2001.

Alireza Zakani is a hardline lawmaker who was disqualified in 2013 and 2017 from running for president.

He holds a Ph.D. in nuclear medicine and has portrayed himself as the most capable candidate at fighting poverty and corruption.

Amirhossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi has been a member of parliament since 2008.

The hardline politician has promised to boost Iran’s battered economy.

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