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Hard-Line Cleric Raisi Announces Candidacy For Iranian President

Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric who heads one of Iran's wealthiest state charities, has announced his candidacy for the country's May 19 presidential election, Iranian news agencies report.

Raisi, the custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, which oversees Iran's holiest shrine, announced his decision through his representative at a meeting of conservatives in the Iranian capital on April 6.

Raisi's representative was quoted by Iranian media as saying that the cleric has resigned from an election supervisory board in order to be able to run.

Conservatives gathered to issue a shortlist of candidates to face President Hassan Rohani, who has the support of moderates and reformists.

Rohani's aides have said that he will run for a second term.

Raisi, 56, has served in the past as state prosecutor and also first deputy to the head of the powerful judiciary.

He is a member of the Assembly of Experts, which is tasked with supervising the work of the country's supreme leader and choosing the future one.

Would-be candidates for the election must register between April 11 and April 15.

They must be approved by the Guardians Council, which vets all election candidates.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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