Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

The head of Iran’s Expediency Council, moderate cleric Ayatollah Hashmei Rafsanjani, continues to be urged by reformist factions to join the presidential race.

Aftab News reports that Hashemi Rafsanjani told a meeting that included representatives of the Coordination Council of the Reformist Front: “If I sense that I can save the country, I will join the race.”

He added: “Whoever has a reputation and the power to run in the elections, they should do so; they do not have to be Hashemi or Khatami.”

Reformists have repeatedly called on two former presidents, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, to nominate themselves. However, conservative factions have been less inviting to the two figures.

Yesterday, the brother of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Mohammad Khamenei, went as far as saying that the United States is working toward bringing Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani to power.

Hashemi Rafsanjani told his visitors that he has not ruled out running in the race and will continue to monitor the political situation to determine the best way forward.

Once people nominate themselves as presidential candidates, their candidacy has to be approved by the Guardian Council before they can run in the election. The Guardian Council has a heavy conservative bias and is subject to the will of the Supreme Leader. It appears that Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani do not wish to risk the possibility of being refused by the Guardian Council and want to see some sign of assurance from the Supreme Leader that their candidacy will be approved before they join the race.