Reformist Iranian candidate opposes online censorship

Reformist Iranian presidential candidate Masoud Pezeshkian has positioned himself against internet censorship in the country days ahead of a run-off election.

In a post on Sunday, the former health minister promised that a government under his leadership would oppose the blocks.

He also assured that his cabinet would campaign against the strict enforcement of headscarf-wearing rules for women in the event of an election victory.

Pezeshkian and conservative hardliner former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili are due to face off in a run-off vote in Iran's presidential election on Friday.

A short election campaign phase begins on Sunday, with two TV debates on Monday and Tuesday.

Saeed Jalili
Saeed Jalili, a former negotiator, will take on Masoud Pezeshkian in Iran's presidential election. (AP PHOTO)

Pezeshkian belongs to the reformist camp - the heart surgeon describes himself as a conservative politician who believes reforms are necessary.

However, whether a moderate candidate can fulfil election promises at all is controversial.

Iran's authorities have repeatedly restricted the internet in the past, for example during large waves of protest such as in 2022.

Social networks including Instagram, X and Telegram are blocked in Iran.

Despite the block, the authorities, the government and many politicians are active on the platforms.

Iranians usually circumvent the blocks using a virtual private network (VPN).

Pezeshkian received about 42.5 per cent of the vote on Friday and Jalili followed at 38.7 per cent.

There were two other candidates in the race.

As none achieved an absolute majority, the run-off is due to take place on July 5.

About 61 million voters in Iran were eligible to elect a successor to hardliner Ebrahim Raisi after he died in a helicopter crash in May.