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National Security News


Iran will choose a new president on Friday

Iranian presidential candidates Masoud Pezeshkian, left, and Saeed Jalili. (Source – Reuters)

Iran will hold a run-off election to choose a new president on Friday 5th July after the two leading candidates failed to secure a majority.

Hardliner Saeed Jalili and rival Masoud Pezeshkian, who is seen as reformist, are both hopeful of becoming the second most powerful leading in the Islamic republic.

Candidates need to win 50 per cent of the vote but the pair both hovered around the 40 per cent mark – with Mr Pezeshkian finishing narrowly ahead.

Two security force members were killed after unidentified gunmen attacked a vehicle carrying election boxes in Sistan-Baluchestan province, according to state media reports.

Iran has been rocked by a series of recent terrorist attacks and the country’s leaders will be hoping that voters and security forces are not targeted on election day.

Former nuclear negotiator Mr Jalili was trailing Mr Pezeshkian – a former heart surgeon and health minister – by about a million votes, early results from the interior ministry show.

Mr Pezeshkian has promised a different approach to leading the country, saying the actions of the morality police, who enforce strict dress codes on women, are “immoral”.

Although he is seen as a reformist, Mr Pezeshkian is deeply loyal to Iran’s supreme leader.

Some commentators have suggested that should he be elected, Iran should not expect more than a difference in tone.

The vote is to replace former president Ebrahim Raisi, who died on 19 May when the helicopter he was in crashed into a mountain, with seven other people also killed.

Ebrahim Raisi. (Source – Getty Images)

Though there are 61.5 million eligible voters in Iran, only around 40 per cent turned out to vote – the fewest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the ultimate authority in the country, had called for “maximum” turnout.

Iran was shaken by a huge wave of protests in 2022 following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code.

Human rights groups say hundreds were killed in the crackdown and thousands detained.

Sean Rayment is the Defence and Security Editor for National Security News. He is also a best selling author, broadcaster and award-winning defence and security journalist. He has also previously served as an officer in Parachute Regiment Officer. He has reported from war zones around the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Africa, and Northern Ireland and is one of the few British journalists to twice visit the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has written for virtually all British national newspapers and specialises in security, intelligence, and defence reporting, with a specific interest in mental health issues in the military community. Sean is also the author of Bomb Hunters and Tales from the Special Forces Club. He also co-wrote the international bestselling Painting the Sand with Kim Hughes GC and Endurance with former SAS operator Louis Rudd.