Former Guards commander tipped to run for president:
TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - The former commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary
Guards corps is expected to announce his candidacy for next May's presidential
elections, press reports said here Thursday.
Mohsen Rezaie, now serving as the number two member of a powerful conservative-dominated
oversight body, will present himself "soon" as a candidate, the
conservative Tehran Times said, citing an unnamed source.
The source told the paper that Rezaie would run on an independent ticket
in May amid widespread speculation over whether popular current President
Mohammad Khatami will run for a second four-year term.
Rezaie is number two on the Expediency Council, which arbitrates disputes
between parliament and another conservative-led oversight body, the Guardians
The latter has blocked key pieces of legislation put forward by the
reform-majority parliament since it took office in May.
Khatami aides have suggested that his frustration over the political
wrangling with his conservative rivals could lead him to decline a bid
for a second term, the most allowed under Iran's constitution.
Rezaie is an outspoken defender of Iran's clerical regime and was commander-in-chief
of the Guards, considered one of the pillars of the Islamic republic.
The only hopeful so far to publicly announce a run for election in May
is Farah Khosravi, a conservative who is set to become the first female
presidential candidate in Iran's history.