Iran's Guardian Council does not hesitate to use its power. That's the legislative body that vets political candidates for their commitment to the Islamic Revolution. Perhaps no surprise in the upcoming presidential election, voters are able to choose from a very narrow range of candidates - all of whom support the regime. All the high-profile or independent candidates have been eliminated by the Guardian Council. And this caused some shock - those include a man who has already held the post of president.
Iran's powerful Guardian Council has disqualified two key candidates — a former president and a top aide to the current president — from running in the June 14 presidential election.
The Guardian Council, which vets all candidates, approved eight names Tuesday but left out former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, who was handpicked by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mashaei said he would appeal the decision to the country's supreme leader; Rafsanjani did not comment.
Iranians choose a new president next month, and one thing Iran's leaders are intent on avoiding is a repeat of the massive street protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election in 2009.
The sponsors of those protests, known as the Green Movement, have been effectively silenced inside Iran, but not online. The heroine of a graphic novel about the violent suppression of dissent in 2009 is now launching a virtual campaign of her own.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
We begin this hour in the Middle East, first Iran. This week, the religiously based Guardian Council is expected to announce the final roster of candidates in that country's presidential election. Even though Iranians will go to the polls in less than a month, some of the candidates for the presidency are still waiting for approval to run for office.
Nearly 700 presidential hopefuls have thrown their names into the ring for Iran's June 14 presidential elections. But two last-minute entrants have altered the shape of the already-chaotic race: a former president once dismissed as a has-been and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.