Iran’s former foreign minister and 2013 presidential candidate Ali Akbar Velayati announced today that a 4th person could join the 3 member coalition of candidates to which he belongs for the upcoming presidential elections.
This coalition currently consists of Velayati, current Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and former Majles speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel. As I wrote in my latest piece for Al Monitor, I believe that for now Hadad Adel has the strongest chance of winning the elections.
The question is: who could this 4th person be?
Velayati said that a number of people have already asked to join the coalition. He did not say who and why they were rejected.
However he made this interesting statement:
وی با اشاره به شرایط ورود به ائتلاف سهگانه تصریح کرد: اصولگرایی و اعتقاد به مبانی جمهوری اسلامی هم در قول و هم در فعل در راس شرایط پیوستن به ائتلاف 1+2 است؛ همچنین ائتلاف سه گانه اصولگرایان تاکید ویژهای بر حضور افرادی با کارنامه درخشان همراه با رضایت آحاد ملت در طول خدمت خود به نظام جمهوری اسلامی دارد و بنابراین حضور افراد ذیصلاح در ائتلاف سهگانه منتفی نیست.
Translation: He (Velayati) referred to the conditions for entry into the 3 member coalition as being a principalist, belief in the foundations of the Islamic republic both in promise and deed as being the most important. The 3 member coalition of principalist emphasizes presence of persons with a shining track record who have served the Islamic republic with the satisfaction of the people during their tenure. Therefore the presence of competent persons in the 3 member coalition of the principlaists camp is not ruled out.
There are a number of persons who belong to the principalist camp, however the one person who I think fits the qualifications described by Velayati the most is current speaker of the parliament Ali Larijani.
He is a well known member of the Principalist camp, has been part of the system for a long time, is well connected (his brother is head of the judiciary) while he himself has been increasing his grass root support by being a the speaker of the parliament.
As with many other things related to Iranian politics, only time will tell. But I think the 4th person could well be Ali Larijani.