Ahmadinejad to run in Iranian presidential election

Trevor Jackson
April 13, 2017

Two high-profile candidates have risen above the fray to steal the media's focus: Ebrahim Raisi, the figure expected to succeed Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Leader, Iran's most important religious and political figure; and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country's controversial former president.

Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he will run for office in the presidential elections in May.

The news is unexpected, as Ahmadinejad was instructed last September by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei not to run.

Flanked by reporters after filling out registration forms and making a victory sign, Ahmadinejad said: "The Leader advised me not to participate in the elections, and I accepted".

Khameneiis "guidance wasn't a bar", he explained in the internal ministry wherever enrollment took place.

The former president said his "presence and registration is only to support Mr. Baghaie" and to serve him with all his power. Also, Iran continues to struggle economically under Rouhani's leadership, even after he worked with Western powers to lift punitive sanctions through the landmark nuclear deal in 2015.

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The former president's chances at recapturing the office, though, seem highly unlikely - at least from a qualifying standpoint. Back in September during a lecture to seminary students in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said he would not find it advisable for Ahmadinejad to seek a comeback to politics "both for his own and the country's good".

Ahmadinejad described his registering for the election as helping his former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, a close confidant.

Associated Press journalists who witnessed Mr Ahmadinejad register on Tuesday said election officials were "stunned" when he submitted the paperwork. While the deal eased worldwide sanctions in return for curbs on the country's nuclear programme, the trickle-down effects are yet to be felt by many of Iran's 80 million strong population.

Registrations are open until Saturday and will be vetted by a clerical body by the end of the month. The Guardian Council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.

Ahmadinejad's candidacy may be a stunt to ensure at least one of his acolytes makes the cut.

"In the past, a few elders would sit and come out with some choices, but now it has become a process like a referendum where forces at the bottom can influence the final decision", Abdolhossein Moslemi, a cleric, told AFP.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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