Campaigning has begun in earnest for Iran’s presidential election in Iran.
For the ballot on June 12 the country’s Guardian Council has whittled down a list of 475 hopefuls to just four candidates. Incumbent conservative president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is a strong favourite to win a second term although he has faced criticism within Iran over his handling of the economy and the nuclear issue. The hugely influential former president Akbar Rafsandjani called for a massive turnout among voters. In a sermon that was broadcast on public radio he also urged the media to remain impartial. Of the four candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi has the best chance of unseating Ahmedinejad; at Friday’s campaign meeting, Mousavi’s wife decried a lack of freedom of speech, press and thought in the country. Mehdi Karoubi, like Mousavi a reformist, has said he will resolve Iran’s problems with the United States if he wins. The fourth candidate is a conservative former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaie.