Conflict & Justice

Iran Kicks Off Its Election Season



Candidates for president in Iran have five days beginning Tuesday to submit applications to run for office.

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Elections are in June.

Last time around, in 2009, 475 hopefuls registered as candidates.

Only four were approved to run by what's called "the Guardian Council," a group of 12 men — mostly appointed by the country's Supreme Leader.

To put it mildly, the Iranian system is not the democracy we're used to in the West.

It's a very closed system.

The criteria that they look for, which is enshrined in the constitution, is that candidates must be 'trustworthy,' they have to be members of the political elite in Iran, they have to be Iranian, they have to adhere to Shia Islam and of course they can't have a criminal record.

These are more or less vague criteria.

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    EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.

    Guardian Council Chief Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati (top L) and Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah (R) listen to the opening speech during Iran's Assembly of Experts' biannual meeting in Tehran March 8, 2011. Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani lost his position on Tuesday as head of an important state clerical body after hardliners criticised him for being too close to the reformist opposition. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2JLGQ