Iran's Ahmadinejad registers to run for president

Apr 13, 2017, 01:29

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has registered to run in the presidential race next month, defying an edict from the country's supreme leader not to do so.

Ahmadinejad, who has claimed the USA government was behind the September 11 attacks and has called the Holocaust a myth, is trying for a comeback despite Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's recommending he not run to make way for President Hassan Rouhani, who is more moderate, reports said.

There are six women and seven clerics among the 126 registered people, with ages ranging from 18 to 79.

The Guardian Council will assess the qualification of the applicants and announce the names of the qualified candidates by April 27. Western belief he was secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons programme led to crippling worldwide 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.

This could set up a contest pitting Ahmadinejad, known for his hardline views, against the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, who has pursued a more moderate path since winning the 2013 election.

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A former officer of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mr Ahmadinejad relies on Iran's devout poor, who felt neglected by past governments and helped sweep him to power in 2005.

A dissident activist Mehdi Khazali, who served several prison terms on security-related charges, said after registration that hostility toward the West would come to an end if he is elected.

Ahmadinejad's decision to contest re-election is believed to be a mighty development in the purview of Syria war for which Saudi Arabia supports US. If he makes it to the polls, the former president could be a uniting figure for the conservative establishment for the 19 May presidential elections.

"People are reading it as saying he knows he's going to be disqualified, but he's doing it so that the Guardian Council doesn't disqualify both Baghaei and him as that would look like they're eliminating all of that camp", Geranmayeh said. Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of global sanctions. Airplane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing Co. have struck billion-dollar deals. 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. Controlled by Khamenei, it decides who is allowed to run.