Middle East

Hard-line cleric says he'll run in Iran election

  • In this March 21, 2017 photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi speaks prior to speech of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran. Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Sunday April 9, 2017, that hard-line cleric Raisi, the head of the Imam Reza charity foundation and close ally of Iran's supreme leader, has announced he will run in the May presidential election. A portrait of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini hangs on the wall. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

    In this March 21, 2017 photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi speaks prior to speech of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran. Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Sunday April 9, 2017, that hard-line cleric Raisi, the head of the Imam Reza charity foundation and close ally of Iran's supreme leader, has announced he will run in the May presidential election. A portrait of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini hangs on the wall. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this April 22, 2009 photo, Ebrahim Raisi attends a meeting of top prosecutors from Islamic countries, in Tehran, Iran. Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Sunday April 9, 2017, that Raisi, a hard-line cleric and close ally of Iran's supreme leader, has announced he will run in the May presidential election. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    In this April 22, 2009 photo, Ebrahim Raisi attends a meeting of top prosecutors from Islamic countries, in Tehran, Iran. Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Sunday April 9, 2017, that Raisi, a hard-line cleric and close ally of Iran's supreme leader, has announced he will run in the May presidential election. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)  (The Associated Press)

Iran's official IRNA news agency is reporting that a hard-line cleric and close ally of the country's supreme leader has announced he will run in the May presidential election.

The Sunday report said Ebrahim Raisi announced his readiness in a statement in which he said the country is suffering from "structural chronic illness and incorrect managerial traditions."

Iranian hardliners had hope Raisi would challenge incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, who is eligible to run for a second term.

The statement says: "The first step for change is to form a powerful and aware administration for serving people and fighting discrimination, poverty and corruption."

In 2016, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Raisi as head of Imam Reza charity foundation that owns huge business conglomerate and endowments in Iran.