Powerful Iranian cleric &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2003/03/20/44670.html ' target=_blank>Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani officially confirmed today that he will stand again for president in June 17 elections, his spokesman said.
'He is a candidate and will announce the reasons for his candidacy in a public declaration' to be released later today, said &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2002/12/23/41239_.html ' target=_blank>Expediency Council spokesman Reza Soleimani.
'Finally his worries over the present situation have outweighed his doubts,' Soleimani said.
Rafsanjani, aged 70 years, is seen as a pragmatic conservative, more open to improved ties with the West and in favour of liberalising the state-dominated economy.
A number of informal opinion polls have placed him far ahead of what is expected to be a field of mostly hardline contenders.
Rafsanjani has held the Islamic republic's presidency from 1989 to 1997, and presently heads the Expediency Council - Iran's top political arbitration body, tells the Forbes.
Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, said that Moscow would treat any military intervention in the affairs of Belarus as an attack on Russia