It was such a fraught time, and Ahmadinejad was so contentious, that the country’s supreme leader urged him to stay out of politics. “I told him he should not participate in that matter,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last year, according to his official website. It’s “not in his interest and that of the country.” (Other former presidents have received similar advice. The media is banned from using the name or image of Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who led the country between 1997 and 2005. Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was barred from seeking another term in 2013. Iran’s first post-revolutionary president, Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, lives in exile in France.)
When asked by reporters, Ahmadinejad brushed off the ayatollah’s words as advice, not instruction. He has been campaigning around the country, and even joined Twitter.
Turns out, he was wrong.
This week, the country’s Guardian Council announced the candidates for president in the May 19 election. About 1,600 men and women had applied to run; the final list includes six names. As was widely expected, incumbent Hassan Rouhani will seek reelection. Other contenders include Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric who is close to Khamenei; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, a conservative former military officer; and Eshaq Jahangiri, a first vice president in Rouhani’s government.
Ahmadinejad’s name was nowhere to be seen.
On social media, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, an Ahmadinejad ally, tried to downplay the decision, writing that Ahmadinejad registered to run only out of “national, religious and revolutionary duty.” Referring to Ahmadinejad and his former vice president, who was also turned down, Javanfekr wrote: “Thank god, the Guardian Council removed the duty from their shoulders.”
Others didn’t take it as well. “Disqualifying candidates is illegal. If Ahmadinejad has committed a crime, why hasn’t been put on trial all these years?” tweeted Iranian user @sahartwitt. “We are opposed to the disqualifications of the Guardian Council, it’s not right for the council to decide what the people are meant to decide.”
That anger may be just what Ahmadinejad intended. Like supporters of populists around the world, his base is already suspicious of the political establishment. The supreme leader’s decision riled Ahmadinejad’s base and burnished his image as an opponent of the establishment.
Experts say the presidential election is likely to be a tight three-way contest between the conservatives Raisi and Ghalibaf, along with Rouhani. Raisi, in particular, is a prominent Shiite cleric who is being touted as a possible successor to the supreme leader. (Jahangiri has already said that he will drop out of the race eventually — that he is only running to defend Rouhani’s accomplishments when he appears in television commercials and in debates.)
Raisi and Ghalibaf belong to the same conservative coalition. If they both stay in the race, they may split the conservative vote and assure Rouhani’s victory, particularly if the incumbent’s moderate-reformist coalition holds. That’s a big if, of course, especially in Iran.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
Jan 06, 2017 Comments Off on There’s a battle in Iran over the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps business empire
Feb 11, 2015 Comments Off on Iran hardliners’ inflexible stance
Feb 10, 2015 Comments Off on Rouhani, a Nuclear Deal and the IRGC
Jan 13, 2015 Comments Off on Iran’s ‘Reformist’ President Is Shielding The Revolutionary Guards
Sep 20, 2018 Comments Off on Iran dismisses U.S. offer of talks, says Washington broke last deal
Sep 19, 2018 Comments Off on Foreign Office warns dual nationals not to go to Iran
Sep 18, 2018 Comments Off on Activists Arrested After Mass Strike in Iran’s Kurdistan Province Against “Revenge” Executions
Sep 17, 2018 Comments Off on Trump must start helping Iran’s minorities achieve regime change
Sep 20, 2018 Comments Off on Iran dismisses U.S. offer of talks, says Washington broke last dealIran dismisses U.S. offer of talks, says Washington broke last deal Iran dismisses U.S. offer of talks, says Washington broke last deal Iran hit back at a U.S. offer of negotiations on Thursday, saying Washington had...
Sep 19, 2018 Comments Off on Foreign Office warns dual nationals not to go to IranForeign Office warns dual nationals not to go to Iran Foreign Office warns dual nationals not to go to Iran The British Foreign Office has warned all UK/Iranian dual nationals not to travel to Iran unless they have an...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...