Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his rival Ebrahim Raisi were both approved to run in May’s presidential election by a government vetting body, while former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was disqualified, state media reported today.
The approval of Rouhani and Raisi, who is thought to have the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sets up a showdown between rival political camps.
Khamenei had advised Ahmadinejad not to run and his attempt to register as a candidate was widely seen as a public snub to the Supreme Leader, which is nearly unheard of in the Islamic Republic.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Ahmadinejad said there was “no reason” for his candidacy to be rejected. He added that wanted to run because the country could be better run.
“Everyone, including Iran, must change their policies, especially in Syria,” explained the former president. “There should be a serious call for dialogue and peace based on the many common issues between us.”