The Guardian Council, which monitors elections in Iran, announced that it may reconsider the decision to exclude candidates from the presidential elections scheduled for the eighteenth of this month.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that some of those excluded have been wronged.
The council’s spokesman, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, tweeted: “The Supreme Leader’s orders are valid, and his rule is a duty of obedience. Soon the council will announce its opinion, admitting that it is not infallible.”
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Khamenei, who has the final say in Iranian affairs, last month adopted the Guardian Council’s decision to reject a number of prominent moderate and conservative candidates.
Among those disqualified candidates is former parliament speaker Ali Larijani.
The exclusions had boosted the chances of success of the hard-line head of the judiciary and Khamenei’s ally, Ebrahim Raisi. It also threatened the regime’s hopes that the elections would witness a turnout amid discontent over the deteriorating economic conditions caused by US sanctions.
On Friday, Khamenei said that a number of unqualified candidates had been treated unfairly.
He added in a television interview: “In the screening process, some candidates were unfairly accused; they were accused of untrue things that were unfortunately circulated on the Internet. Protecting people’s reputation is one of the most important issues. I am communicating with the relevant bodies to rehabilitate them.”
It is unclear whether the council will reconsider the decision to exclude the candidates, or will only deny the rumors that promoted their exclusion.
Facebook pages indicated that candidates faced offensive questions about the dual nationalities of their relatives. These nationalities are not recognized by Iran.
So far, the Iranian voter is supposed to choose between seven candidates, five of whom are described as hardliners and two as moderates.
Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is not entitled to run for a third presidential term.
Observers believe that the elections are enough to consolidate the pillars of Khamenei’s authority at home, at a time when Tehran and six other countries are trying to revive a nuclear agreement concluded by those powers combined in 2015 before Washington withdrew from it three years ago.
Khamenei’s supporters blame the deteriorating economic situation in Iran on the government, saying that Washington’s pledges cannot be trusted.