June 11th, 2009
07:22 PM ET

Iran's presidential election: who's in this race?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/10/iran.election.rallies/art.iran.rally.jpg caption="President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends a rally Wednesday in Tehran. He's facing tight competition from reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi."]

Anna Duning
AC360º Intern

Following weeks of impassioned debates on TV and lively rallies in the streets of Tehran, the Iranian presidential campaign has ended. Iranians are heading to the polls Friday to vote among four contenders. Here's a brief look at the candidates.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Elected in 2005 and internationally known for his defiance of the UN and denial of the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad is the incumbent candidate. In what was earlier thought to be an easy race, he is now fighting to maintain his position in office. Described as a hard-line conservative, throughout his campaign, Ahmadinejad has kept up fierce anti-Western rhetoric and defended Iran's nuclear program. While he maintains a strong base, mostly among traditional conservatives and the poor, the state of Iran's economy threatens Ahmadinejad's re-election.

Mir Hossein Moussavi – A self-described reformist, Moussavi has emerged as Ahmadinejad's main challenger. He is a former Prime Minister, although has not held office for 20 years. Mousavi's support comes primarily from women and young people who hope his reformist approach will bring new religious and democratic freedoms to Iran.

Mohsen Rezaie – Former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Rezaie is currently the secretary of the Expediency Council. A conservative, he draws most of his support from traditionally conservative voters as an alternative to Ahmadinejad and promises economic reform including privatization.

Mehdi Karrubi – Another pro-reform candidate, Karrubi is currently the chairman of the National Trust Party. Like Mousavi, he offers a more moderate approach to foreign policy. This is his second run for the presidency. He came in third in 2005 when Ahmadinejad won the election.

Filed under: 360º Follow • Iran • Middle East
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Amina Wasif

    Well we might not see women wearing tank tops even if Moussavi is sworn in, but at least women will be guaranteed equal rights, better representation in the government plus a mass repeal of many laws that restrict women. Which, at the end of the day matters more than being allowed to wear *tank tops* outside.

    June 12, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  2. Steven

    Karen, are you always that derogatory and disrespectful? I hope you are 21yrs old or younger because you act like a kid.

    June 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  3. Shay

    The idea of freedom and equality in most countries is just that. It would be great to have a leader with more accommodating views however the without follows a leader is just a man. Every movement requires something, a start....

    June 11, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  4. Alice

    I hope the youth of Iran can bring change, the way the youth of this country was able to unite and bring a change to Washington.
    Good Luck Iran

    June 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  5. Minou, New York City

    For the sake of women's rights, I hope Mir Hossein Moussavi will be the new President. His wife is very outspoken and well educated and is a great role model for Iranian women. As far as Mr Moussavi's policies are concerned I just don't have enough information on his plans. But a reformist is always better than any conservative!

    June 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  6. Karen

    Annie Kate. Stop drinking the Kool Aid.

    Do you really think they are going to allow a women to wear a Tank Top outside?

    Do you really think that? Are you in denial.

    Keep thinking that ok? I'll continue to beleive in Santa Clause

    June 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    Hossein Moussavi sounds like the best one just from the short briefs about each of them in this post. His reformist attitudes could bring a breath of fresh air to Iran and not only bring new freedoms to the young people and the women, but also bring a new approach to Iran's relationship with other countries.

    June 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm |