Hassan Ruhani, born in 1948 in the northern town of Sorkheh, has held numerous governmental positions since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, including Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (1989-2005), member of the Assembly of Experts (1999-), member of the Expediency Discernment Council (1991-), President of the Center for Strategic Research (1992-), Deputy Speaker of Parliament (1996-2004), and most importantly, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator (2003-2005). In addition to his religious education in the hawza (Shiite religious seminaries), he also holds an M.Phil. degree and a doctorate in psychology from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.
Saeed Jalili, born in Mashhad in 1965, has served as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council since 2007. In 1989, he joined the Foreign Ministry and in 2001 was appointed as a senior policy advisor in Khamenei’s office. Jalili holds a doctorate in Political Science from Imam Sadegh University in Tehran. He is a veteran for the Iran-Iraq war, during which he lost part of his right leg.
Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, born in 1961 near Mashhad, served in the Iran-Iraq war and acted as the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s air force from 1996-1999. Khamenei appointed him the national chief of police in 1999. Since 2005, he has served as the directly elected mayor of Tehran. Qalibaf also ran for president in 2005 and came in fourth place with 13.8% of the vote.
Ali Akbar Velayati, born in 1945 in Shemiran, served as Iran’s foreign minister from 1981 to 1997. As a licensed medical doctor, he was first appointed as deputy health minister from 1980 to 1981. In 2006, he was appointed to the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Expediency Council.
Mohsen Rezai, born in 1954 in Masjed-Soleyman, served as the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps from 1981-1996. He holds a doctorate in economics from Tehran University. Currently, he serves as the Secretary of the Expediency Council. Rezai ran for president in 2009 and came in third place, receiving 1.75% of the vote. He subsequently contested the election results.
Mohammad Gharazi, born in 1941 in Esfahan, was the Minister of Petroleum from 1981 to 1985 and also served as the Minister of Telecommunications from 1985 to 1997. He has been relatively inactive in the Iranian political scene since 1997 and his approval as a candidate came as a surprise to many. His campaign focused mainly on economic issues.