- The two conservatives, who have close ties with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are seen as the leading contenders to succeed Hassan Rouhani.
- Mr. Rouhani, a moderate, is not allowed to run for a third consecutive term.
- More than 300 other hopefuls have also applied to be candidates. They must all now be vetted by the Guardian Council.
- Reformists and human rights activists have expressed concerns about Mr. Raisi's background, particularly his role in the mass executions of several thousand political prisoners in 1988.
- Mr. Raisi has said the executions were justified because the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa or religious ruling.
- Mr. Larijani, a 63-year-old conservative former nuclear negotiator who currently serves as an adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, claimed the other presidential contenders were not capable of fixing the economy, particularly those with military or judicial backgrounds.
Read the original story here.
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