Iran’s presidential candidates offer the widest-raging choices on the political spectrum for holding elections in Iran since the revolution of 1979; of course, within the confines of the Guardian Council of the Revolution, which guards the theocracy of the State but permits semi-competitive elections.
Each of the eight candidates portrays himself as the answer to Iran’s daunting challenges. However, the greatest hopes are pinned on the former president Rafsanjani, frontrunner in the polls. But the former president’s victory is not guaranteed. The self-declared reformist Mostafa Moin is gaining ground. At first rejected by the Guardian Council as presidential contender, he was reinstated after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei intervened to ensure at least the appearance of a balanced election. Moin, former minister of science, research and technology, resigned his post in 2003 protesting against the repression of students’ demonstrations, has earned credibility among the under-30s. Therefore a run-off contest is expected between both candidates.
Without more significant backing, Rafsanjani would find it tough to deal with the parliament’s ultraconservative majority. Besides, his presidential balance was unequal. Rafsanjani established the great Iran’s bureaucracy. On the other hand, today he will not be able to count on Washington’s overture. Due to regional tensions, Iran has been recaptured greatly by the conservatives. Regarding the nuclear issue, Rafsanjani may not be able to convince the fellow countrymen to accept giving up such a program. In fact, Rafsanjani presidency would not reconcile these contradictions within the Iranian system, which is half way between democracy and theocracy. Nevertheless, many problems would not be resolved as long as the gap of the regime’s nature is not bridged.

Gulf News
Gulf News is the main newspaper devoted to the entire Persian Gulf . Circulation: more than 90,000 editions. Edited in Dubai in English, it is read largely by the important foreigner community residing in the region.
Christian Science Monitor (United States)

Iran presidential race: expectations vs. Reality”, by Haleh Vaziri and Bahman Baktiari, Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 2005.
Contest of expectations vs reality”, Gulf News, June 14, 2005.