Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad Registers for Presidential Election

13 April, 2017, 02:29 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gives a press conference in Tehran

Iran's former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday got his name registered for the upcoming Iranian presidential election.

State-controlled media in Iran report that former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, a hard-line conservative who served two terms, has registered to run in Iran's May 19 presidential vote.

"His advice does not prevent me from running", Ahmadinejad said of Khamenei Wednesday.

Khamenei's "advice was not a ban", he said at the interior ministry where registration was taking place. Western belief he was secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons programme led to crippling global sanctions during his time in office, and protests at his 2009 re-election were met with a crackdown which sent hundreds to prison and left dozens of people dead.

The only prominent figure to step in the elections debut on the first day was Mostafa Mir-Salim, Former Culture Minister, who will represent Islamic Coalition Party.

Ahmadinejad previous year ruled out a comeback of his own after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei indicated it could have a "polarising" effect on the nation.

Ahmadinejad was known during his two terms in office as a hardliner who pushed forward Iran's nuclear program despite global opposition.

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In a move to widen Mr Ahmadinejad's support, his senior aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie in May sent a conciliatory letter to Mr Ahmadinejad's predecessor as president, Mohammad Khatami, seen as the father of Iran's reform movement.

Registrations are open until Saturday and will be vetted by a clerical body by the end of the month.

Sadegh Zibakalam, a political science professor at the University of Tehran, said a week before the registration that Ahmadinejad could challenge Rouhani seriously, what Raisi falls short of doing due to weak grassroots support.

On April 26-27, the Interior Ministry will formally announce a final shortlist of candidates approved by the Guardian Council.

On the other hand, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is considered a moderate leader who also negotiated the the nuclear deal with world powers after a long-standing impasse during Ahmadinejad's stint.

"I think the ruling system wants him to come as a reaction to Trump", Karegar said.

"Although it is quite possible that Ahmadinejad will be disqualified by the Guardian Council, this could turn out to be politically messy for them", said Sabet.

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