Cleric criticizes presidential hopefuls for pledging to open US talks
“Some hopefuls say, ‘I will hold talks with the US and solve the issue of sanctions’; such remarks sound more like a joke and are hilarious,” Tehran interim Friday Prayers leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, told worshippers in the capital city.
He ruled out direct talks between Tehran and Washington, arguing that such negotiations would not benefit the Islamic Republic because the US government only seeks its own interests.
Ayatollah Jannati also chairs the Guardian Council, a supervisory constitutional body which is in charge of vetting presidential hopefuls.
The cleric stated that none of the hopefuls who have signed up for the country’s 11th presidential election meets all the qualifications required under Article 115 of the Iranian Constitution.
He, however, said the fact that many hopefuls with different political backgrounds have registered for the polls indicates that elections in Iran are free.
A total of 686 individuals signed up for the presidential race during the registration period, which began on May 7 at Iran’s Interior Ministry and ended on May 11.
The Guardian Council, which consists of six jurists and six theologians, has until May 21 to announce the final list of candidates.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.
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