Ali Larijani

Position: Speaker, Iranian parliament

Biography: In June 2013, a presidential election will be held in Iran, which will see the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad step down after two terms. Ali Larijani, Iran’s speaker of parliament, ran against Ahmadinejad in 2005 and is expected to contest the forthcoming vote.

Larijani is a conservative and long-time supporter of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator with the West until 2007. Larijani has frequently clashed with Ahmadinejad and in March 2012, he oversaw unprecedented public questioning of the president by the country’s lawmakers.

It was the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic that a sitting president was summoned by parliament. Larijani previously served as head of Iran’s state broadcaster and culture minister. In 2004, he was appointed as security adviser to Khamenei. In May 2012, Larijani was re-elected as speaker of parliament.