May 15, 2021 12:50 UTC

Another Principlist figure, Sa’eed Jalili, has joined the 2021 Iranian presidential race, despite widespread belief earlier that he would not run if heavyweight Ebrahim Raeisi did, and potentially contributing to a further division of Principlist votes.

A former nuclear negotiator under Ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Jalili was said to be planning not to run if Raeisi — around whom a wider section of the Principlists have rallied — joined the election. Raeisi, currently Iran’s Judiciary chief, entered the fray earlier on Saturday.

Jalili, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, was the lead Iranian negotiator with world powers in his former capacity as the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). He previously ran for president in the 2013 election and came in third.

Saturday was the last day of registration in the June 18 presidential election. All hopefuls will have to undergo vetting by the Constitutional Council before they can actually run.