Iran's president resisters to run in May elections

Iran's president resisters to run in May elections

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. "It would be very unsafe 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". He suggested the USA presidency is decided behind closed doors. "The stepmothers who repeatedly tried to kill this baby can not be good custodians for it", he told reporters. "They need to come up with a figure and say he is very unsafe".

Internationally, Ahmadinejad is more known for repeatedly questioning the scale of the Holocaust, predicting Israel's demise and expanding Iran's contested nuclear program.

"If he were unsafe, he would not have $70 billion of assets". "However he has no choice but to play such a role".

It was unclear how he arrived at that dollar figure. Key among them was the nuclear deal between Tehran and six leading world powers in 2015, which paved the way for a relaxation of sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear programme.

Though Rouhani won in a single round with more than 50 percent of the vote in 2013 - an election in which no other candidate took more than 17 percent - he could face a tougher campaign this time if hardliners join forces against him. The supreme leader also serves as the country's commander in chief over its military and the powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria that also has vast economic holdings across Iran.

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But voters appear to be warming to his message that he is a safe pair of hands in an election of largely untested candidates. It warned main candidates in the ballot of a threat to their security, according to campaign officials.

"The problem about the nuclear deal is how they advertised it. It was incorrect. It later turned out to be untrue", he continued.

Seen as a proxy for Ahmadinejad after the former president was told not to stand by the supreme leader.

He is considered a close ally of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who past year appointed him to run the powerful charity-cum-business-empire Astan Qods Razavi (AQR), which oversees the Imam Reza shrine in the holy city of Mashhad.

In fact, during the past Iranian year (which ended on March 20), three senior clerics who had supported President Rouhani (including Ayatollah Rafsanjani) had died, adding to the uncertainty within the overall leadership structure.

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