Iran's president registers to run in May elections

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 21, 2017

Earlier, ex-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Former Minister of Industry Mostafa Hashemitaba, former Oil Minister Seyed Mohammad Kharazi and Ebrahim Raeesi, the chief custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, have registered their candidacies.

"I do not think it has a message for Iran". Hard-line cleric and judge Ebrahim Raisi, a favorite of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who allegedly was involved in the 1988 mass execution of thousands of prisoners, signed up as well. He dodged questions about issues such as Iran's missile program and the possible reaction by the USA and Israel to another Ahmadinejad presidency. "It would be very risky to pin former President Ahmadinejad as being just a principlist... because there's a lot of the things that he has done within Iran in terms of internal policies that could qualify as being reformist".

The Guardian Council, a 12-member committee that vets the candidates, will announce April 26 which candidates it determines are qualified to run. After the procedure is completed, the Supervisory Council will form the final candidates list.

More than 130 women have registered though none have ever been allowed to stand.

Ahmadinejad said the strike on Syria could have happened even if Hillary Clinton had won the USA election. So did Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, another of the former president's close allies.

Born into a religious family in 1948, the mid-ranking Shi'ite cleric played an active role in the opposition that overthrew the USA -backed Shah in 1979.

"In every aspect that you consider, figures tell us that after the (nuclear deal), there is more space for movement and progress", he told reporters last week.

Ahmadinejad also voiced reluctant support for Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with the US and other world powers, which saw Iran accept curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling worldwide sanctions.

The candidate should basically be an Iranian national, prudent and capable of taking on leadership duties, and being religious and believing in the Islamic republic's principles and its official religion.

Ahmadinejad, who announced a few days ago he was running for a third presidential term, added the USA air strike would have occurred even if Hillary Clinton won the United States presidential election in November.

Ever the showman, a smiling Ahmadinejad made "V for Victory" hand signals and walked his former Vice President Hamid Baghaei through the process of registering first.

Ahmadinejad accompanied Baghaei to the Interior Ministry on Wednesday for registration.

"The conversation that he had... with Ayatollah Khamenei was really to be taken as a personal advice and a personal opinion of the leadership rather than an order", she said during Becker's Loud & Clear broadcast.

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