Iran’s Ahmadinejad Will Not Make Presidential Comeback Bid
Former Iranian President has bowed to pressure not to run
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not run for President in next year’s election in Iran, he said Tuesday, bowing to the wishes of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who warned his candidacy would increase divisions in Iran.
“In carrying out the intentions of the leader of the revolution, I have no plans to take part in the elections next year,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, published on his website dolatebahar.com.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, a hardliner who increased Iran’s international isolation by refusing to negotiate about its nuclear program, had not announced a re-election bid, but several speeches in recent months had prompted speculation of a political comeback.
By ruling himself out, he has removed one potentially serious challenger to President Hassan Rouhani’s bid for a 2nd term at May’s election, although he is still likely to face a challenger opposed to his policy of detente with the West.
Ayatollah Khamenei, who has the final say in all matters of state, was quoted Monday as saying Mr. Ahmadinejad’s candidacy would polarize society and “create … divisions in the country which I believe is harmful”.
Mr. Ahmadinejad was 1st elected President in Y 2005. His disputed re-election in Y 2009 prompted the biggest street protests in the Islamic Republic’s history and a security crackdown in which several people were killed and hundreds arrested.
Iran’s law bars a President from seeking a 3rd consecutive term. But, Mr. Ahmadinejad would have been able to run again after the gap caused by President Rouhani’s term.
“I will proudly remain a modest soldier of the revolution and a servant of the people,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said.