Iran Opens Registration Period for the Presidential Election after Raisi’s Death

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Ebrahim Raisi gather near his poster to celebrate his presidential election victory in Tehran, Iran June 19, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Ebrahim Raisi gather near his poster to celebrate his presidential election victory in Tehran, Iran June 19, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
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Iran Opens Registration Period for the Presidential Election after Raisi’s Death

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Ebrahim Raisi gather near his poster to celebrate his presidential election victory in Tehran, Iran June 19, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Ebrahim Raisi gather near his poster to celebrate his presidential election victory in Tehran, Iran June 19, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Iran opened a five-day registration period Thursday for hopefuls wanting to run in the June 28 presidential election to replace the late Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this month with seven others.
The election comes as Iran grapples with the aftermath of the May 19 crash, as well as heightened tensions between Tehran and the United States, and protests including those over the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini that have swept the country, The Associated Press said.
While Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 85, maintains final say over all matters of state, presidents in the past have bent Iran toward greater interaction or increased hostility with the West.
The five-day period will see those between the ages of 40 to 75 with at least a master's degree register as potential candidates. All candidates ultimately must be approved by Iran's 12-member Guardian Council, a panel of clerics and jurists ultimately overseen by Khamenei. That panel has never accepted a woman, for instance, nor anyone calling for radical change within the country's governance.
Raisi, a protege of Khamenei, won Iran’s 2021 presidential election after the Guardian Council disqualified all of the candidates with the best chance to potentially challenge him. That vote saw the lowest turnout in Iran's history for a presidential election. That likely was a sign of voters' discontent with both a hard-line cleric sanctioned by the US in part over his involvement in mass executions in 1988, and Iran's Shiite theocracy over four decades after its 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Who will run — and potentially be accepted — remains in question. The country’s acting president, Mohammad Mokhber, a previously behind-the-scenes bureaucrat, could be a front-runner, because he's already been seen meeting with Khamenei. Also discussed as possible aspirants are former hard-line President Mohammad Ahmadinejad and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami — but whether they'd be allowed to run is another question.
The five-day registration period will close on Tuesday. The Guardian Council is expected to issue its final list of candidates within 10 days afterwards. That will allow for a shortened two-week campaign before the vote in late June.
The new president will take office while the country now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections. Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine, as well as launched a drone and missile attack on Israel amid the war in Gaza. Tehran also has continued arming proxy groups in the Middle East, like Yemen’s Houthi militants and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia.
Meanwhile, Iran's economy has faced years of hardship over its collapsing rial currency. Widespread protests have swept the country, most recently over Amini's death following her arrest over allegedly not wearing her mandatory headscarf to the liking of authorities, A UN panel says the Iranian government is responsible for the “physical violence” that led to Amini's death.
Raisi is just the second Iranian president to die in office. In 1981, a bomb blast killed President Mohammad Ali Rajai in the chaotic days after the Iranian Revolution.



Canada Navy Patrol Ship Arrive in Cuba on Heels of Russian Warships

The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
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Canada Navy Patrol Ship Arrive in Cuba on Heels of Russian Warships

The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer

A Canadian navy patrol ship sailed into Havana early on Friday, just hours after the United States announced a fast-attack submarine had docked at its Guantanamo naval base in Cuba, both vessels on the heels of Russian warships that arrived on the island earlier this week.
The confluence of Russian, Canadian and US vessels in Cuba - a Communist-run island nation just 145 km (90 miles) south of Florida - was a reminder of old Cold War tensions and fraught ties between Russia and Western nations over the Ukraine war, Reuters said.
However, both the US and Cuba have said the Russian warships pose no threat to the region. Russia has also characterized the arrival of its warships in allied Cuba as routine.
The Admiral Gorshkov frigate and the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, half submerged with its crew on deck, sailed into Havana harbor on Wednesday after conducting "high-precision missile weapons" training in the Atlantic Ocean, Russia's defense ministry said.
Canada`s Margaret Brooke patrol vessel began maneuvers early on Friday to enter Havana harbor, part of what the Canadian Joint Operations Command called "a port visit ... in recognition of the long-standing bilateral relationship between Canada and Cuba."
Hours earlier, the US Southern Command said the fast-attack submarine Helena had arrived on a routine port visit to Guantanamo Bay, a US naval base on the tip of the island around 850 km (530 miles) southeast of Havana.
"The vessel's location and transit were previously planned," Southern Command said on X.
Cuba`s foreign ministry said it had been informed of the arrival of the US submarine but was not happy about it.
"Naval visits to a country are usually the result of an invitation, and this was not the case," said Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío.
"Obviously we do not like the presence in our territory (of a submarine) belonging to a power that maintains an official and practical policy that is hostile against Cuba."
A Canadian diplomat characterized the Margaret Brooke`s arrival as "routine and part of long-standing cooperation between our two countries", adding it was "unrelated to the presence of the Russian ships."
Russia and Cuba were close allies under the former Soviet Union, and tensions with Washington over communism in its "backyard" peaked with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Moscow has maintained ties with Havana.
When asked what message Moscow was sending, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday the West never appeared to take notice when Russia sent signals through diplomatic channels.
"As soon as it comes to exercises or sea voyages, we immediately hear questions and a desire to know what these messages are about," Zakharova said. "Why do only signals related only to our army and navy reach the West?"
The Russian warships are expected to remain in Havana harbor until Monday.