Iran's Hassan Rouhani registers for second term in upcoming presidential elections

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday he does not view recent US missile strikes on ally Syria as a message for Iran, which he called a "powerful country" that the USA can not harm.

With the deadline approaching, more than 1,300 candidates have registered to run for the presidency in Iran, according to local media.

Raisi is also prosecutor of the Special Cleric Court, which deals with the offenses of clerics.

Following the registration, Rouhani hailed the Iranian worldwide nuclear deal, known as JCPOA, as his administration's achievement, saying that "from now on, protecting the nuclear deal would be one of the important issues (for the next government) politically and economically".

"With the deal in jeopardy, the system will be in vital need of Rouhani's team of smiling diplomats and economic technocrats to shift the blame to the US and keep Iran's economy afloat", said Iran analyst Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group.

"His advice does not prevent me from running", he said.

The Iranian president said that revival of social ethics and the rights of citizenship, transparency as well as free circulation of information would still be on the agenda of his program for the next term of presidency, if elected. That's not to say it will be easy for Rouhani.

A bill to impose new sanctions on Iran over ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear activities has been delayed in the U.S. Senate due to concerns about the presidential election.

Analysts describe Raisi as utterly loyal to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meaning he would likely remain deeply suspicious of engagement with the West but unlikely to backtrack on the nuclear deal, which had the boss's tacit consent.

The conservative opposition remains divided, but attention has lately focused on hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, 56, who runs the powerful Imam Reza charitable foundation.

Ahmadinejad previously served two four-year terms from 2005 to 2013. His reelection in 2009, marred by fraud allegations, led to the biggest protests in Iran since the 1979 revolution."I merely registered here to support my dear brother, Baghaei", Mr. Ahmadinejad said, referring to Hamid Baghaei, his former vice president. Sitting presidents in Iran are expected to be modest about their ambitions, and to refrain from using state television as a campaigning platform.

One big question is why Raisi would risk a run for the presidency if he has ambitions to become supreme leader as many speculate. Registration remains open until Saturday.

"Ahmadinejad's decision to stand in elections will work in Rouhani's favor", Mohammad Javad Abtahi also said in a talk with ICANA on Wednesday.

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