Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has urged former generals who want to stand in the presidential election scheduled for 18 June to stay away from politics.
"The duty of our armed forces is not only of a military nature but also not to engage in politics," said Rouhani. He noted that the army's mission is to protect the sovereignty of the nation and the government elected by the people.
Several former military officials announced their intention to run for president. This has raised concerns within the reformist movement, to which Rouhani belongs, that the country might be ruled by a military government in the future. There are, however, no constitutional obstacles to prevent such former officers from running for elected office; only serving military personnel are prohibited from getting involved in political activities.
The reformist movement has not yet announced its candidate for the election. Having been in office for two terms, Rouhani is not eligible to stand for a third.
The reformists have mentioned two names as potential candidates, though: former President Mohammad Khatami and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. However, Khatami is banned from running because he was blacklisted after publicly criticising the 2009 election, and Zarif has shown no interest in participating in elections.