On Friday, despite facing a hardline conservative challenge over his economic record, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani registered to run for a second four-year term.
Well-informed sources close to Iranian leadership circles have indicated that Iranian "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, 77, was no longer responding to treatment for the cancer which spread from the prostate cancer which was detected as early as 2008; he may also have other forms of cancer, including one or more forms of leukemia.
Human rights campaigners say there have been few, if any, moves to bring about greater social freedoms as Rouhani's main focus has been boosting the sanctions-damaged economy.
In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, President Hassan Rouhani, left, speaks as he is accompanied by the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi on a visit to the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Associated Press journalists watched as Rouhani, 68, registered on the fourth day of the allocated period which ends on Saturday evening.
He said his decision to run was meant to help former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, a close confidant.
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"His advice does not prevent me from running", he said.
Rouhani, a politically moderate cleric, inherited an economy in freefall and a country dangerously isolated over its nuclear programme when he took power in 2013. The 12-member Guardian Council, which scrutinizes the candidates, was to announce on April 26, 2017, which candidates it determined were qualified to run.
In 2013 presidential elections more than 460 candidates submitted registrations, however the Guardian Council approved the candidacy of only 8 applicants, rejecting the candidacy of Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani. "It would be very risky to pin former President Ahmadinejad as being just a principlist... because there's a lot of the things that he has done within Iran in terms of internal policies that could qualify as being reformist".
The hopefuls will have 20 days for electoral campaigns, ahead of the election day slated for May 19.
Democracy and democratic elections are attainable by reference to the people's vote and respect to the law, he told reporters.
The candidate should basically be an Iranian national, prudent and capable of taking on leadership duties, and being religious and believing in the Islamic republic's principles and its official religion.