Iranian Former President, Ahmadinejad to Re-Contest

Iranian Former President, Ahmadinejad to Re-Contest

Ex-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad submitted his name on Wednesday for registration as a candidate in Iran’s presidential election in May, state media reported.

The move by the former hardline president was seen as a challenge to the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had ordered him not to run.

Registration for the May 19 election started on Monday and will last five days, after which entrants will be screened for their political and Islamic qualifications by a vetting body, the Guardian Council.

MAM reports that about 126 prospective candidates have submitted their names.

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

Registration will remain open until Saturday, and any Iranian national can apply.

The applicants will then be vetted by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that will announce a final list of candidates by April 27.

The council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.

President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, is eligible to run for another term.

Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Hamid Baghaei, a close ally of former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have announced plans to run.

Both have vowed to fight poverty and corruption.

The coming vote is seen as a referendum on the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, under which Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

The nuclear deal was engineered by the Rouhani administration and went into practice in 2016.

Since then Iran has resumed selling oil and signed deals worth billions of dollars for passenger planes to replace its aging fleet.

However critics of the deal complain that these economic benefits have yet to trickle down to average Iranians.