Hojjatoleslam Raeisi, who is the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad, officially declared his presidential bid in a statement released on Sunday.
In his statement, he stressed that he has never been willing to be in power, but this time he could not turn down the numerous requests he had received from people and the elites for running as a presidential candidate.
Raeisi also regretted that the country is in deep trouble and crisis, vowing to restore relief to Iranian people and save the country if he is elected, according to media reports in Farsi.
His statement came as he was earlier shortlisted by the national assembly of the Popular Front of the Islamic Revolution Forces (PFIRF), and had garnered the highest number of votes (2,147) from the conservative coalition.
However, he did not wait for the PFIRF to declare him as their candidate, and seems to be running as an independent conservative rival for President Hassan Rouhani in the country’s 12th presidential election due to be held on May 19.
Raeisi previously served positions in Iran’s Judicial system, such as Attorney General from 2014 to 2016, and Deputy Chief Justice from 2004 to 2014 for ten years. He was also the Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran in the 1980’s and the 1990’s. He is also a member of Assembly of Experts from South Khorasan Province, being elected for the first time in 2006 election