The speaker of Iran’s parliament has denied reports that he will not run for a parliament seat in the upcoming elections in February 2020.
A conservative lawmaker announced November 9 that Ali Larijani does not intend to be a candidate next February, but a person close to Larijani denied the report, saying the Speaker has not made a decision.
Larijani is considered a conservative but he is not in the orbit of hardliners.
In a related development, the deputy speaker of parliament, Abdolreza Mesri announced that the former conservative mayor of Tehran Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has decided not to enter the race. Qalibaf’s name had come up as a possible successor to Larijani.
A former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Qalibaf is implicated in large-scale corruption when he was mayor of the capital. Previously, he made three unsuccessful attempts as a presidential candidate.
With Iran’s so-called reformist camp weak and in disarray, hardliners hope to take back the majority in parliament and completely neutralize “moderate” regime insiders. President Hassan Rouhani, allied with reformists has also lost ground, being blamed for having made the nuclear deal with the United States.
President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the accords and his decision to impose harsh sanctions on Iran has led to dire economic conditions.
Hardliners argue that Rouhani trusted the U.S., negotiated the agreement and now has nothing to show for it.