Defying the supreme leader? Ahmadinejad set to run for Iran presidency

by Abel Hampton April 13, 2017, 1:00

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seated center, flashes the victory sign as he registers his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections at the Interior Ministry in Tehran. Though Iran's constitution does not give Khamenei the power to bar Ahmadinejad from another run for president, the supreme leader's preferences carry significant weight in the process.

Despite entering the poll fray, Ahmadinejad claims that he is not interested to contest for the presidential post, adding that he would only electioneer for Hamid Baghaei, his former deputy.

"Hardliners have struggled to rally behind a single candidate to challenge President Rouhani, who's hoping that a general uptick in the economy since the Iran nuclear deal with world powers will boost his chances".

But the former president - whose tenure between 2005 and 2013 saw mass protests at home, plummeting relations with the West and a shattered economy - surprised everyone when he registered along with Baghaie on Wednesday. Registration remains open until Saturday. Their candidacies are subject to the approval of the Guardian Council, a powerful body in charge of vetting all applicants.

"The supreme leader requested that I don't stand and I had accepted", Mr Ahmadinejad told reporters. The council is typically responsible for disqualifying the majority of registrants for making it to the final candidates list. Ahmadinejad himself described his decision to run as meant to help Baghaei.

"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. Under that deal, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of global sanctions.

Mr Rouhani and his allies have criticisedMr Ahmadinejad's free-spending policies for fuelling inflation and accuse him of wasting Iran's oil revenues. The oldest candidate is a 79-year-old man and the youngest is an 18-year-old man, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Elections Headquarters Chief Ali Pour Ali Motlagh said 126 candidates registered for the 12th Presidential Elections on the opening day of the registration process. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. An Ahmadinejad presidency could inflame those tensions while increasing the likelihood of an Israeli military strike on the country's nuclear facilities.

Ayatollah Khamenei ultimately calls the shots in Iran, where the president can only influence policy, not decide it.

"I think the ruling system wants him to come as a reaction to Trump", Karegar said. "I won't vote for him".

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