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Posted at: Apr 13, 2017, 12:29 AM; last updated: Apr 13, 2017, 12:29 AM (IST)

Hardliner Ahmadinejad to run for Iranian presidency

Polarising figure

  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad previously served two four-year terms from 2005 to 2013. Under Iranian law, he became eligible to run again after four years out of office, but he remains a polarising figure
  • Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009 sparked massive protests and a sweeping crackdown in which thousands of people were detained and dozens were killed
  • Iran’s economy suffered under heavy international sanctions during his administration because of Western suspicions that Tehran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons
Hardliner Ahmadinejad to run for Iranian presidency
Ex-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. Reuters

Tehran, April 12

Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today unexpectedly filed to run in the country’s May presidential election, contradicting a recommendation from the supreme leader to stay out of the race.

Ahmadinejad’s decision will upend an election many believed would be won by moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who negotiated the nuclear deal with world powers. Though Rouhani has yet to formally register, many viewed him as a shoe-in following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recommendation in September for Ahmadinejad to stand down.

But many hardliners in Iran seek a tough-talking candidate to rally around who can stand up to US President Donald Trump.

Ahmadinejad’s candidacy also could expose the fissures inside Iranian politics that linger since his contested 2009 re-election, which brought massive unrest.

Asked about Ahmadinejad’s decision, one Tehran-based analyst offered a blunt assessment. “It was an organised mutiny against the Iran’s ruling system.” — AFP

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