A Familiar Name Is Apparently Running for President of Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is back, maybe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 12, 2021 1:53 AM CDT
A Familiar Name Is Apparently Running for President of Iran
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes victory sign while registering his name as a candidate for the June 18, presidential elections at elections headquarters of the Interior Ministry in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 12, 2021.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iran's state television reported Wednesday that the country's former firebrand president will run again for office in upcoming elections in June, the AP reports. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly marched accompanied by supporters to a registration center at the Interior Ministry where he filled out registration forms. Ahmadinejad in recent years has tried to polish his hardline image into a more centrist candidacy, criticizing the government for mismanagement. The Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad has previously been banned from running for the presidency by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017, although then, he registered anyway. A constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, ultimately disqualified him then.

Khamenei says he will not oppose the nomination of any candidate, although the electoral council may still block Ahmadinejad's candidacy. In either case, the populist's return to the political scene may energize discontent among hard-liners who seek a tougher stance against the west—particularly Israel and the US. Iran opened registration on Tuesday, kicking off the race as uncertainty looms over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers and tensions remain high with the West. President Hassan Rouhani can not run again due to term limits, yet with the poll just a month away no immediate favorite has emerged among the many rumored candidates. Ahmadinejad pushed his nation into open confrontation with both the West over its nuclear program and its own people after his disputed 2009 re-election sparked the biggest mass protests since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. He left office in 2013.

(Read more Iran stories.)

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