Iran' Ahmadinejad submits candidacy for upcoming Presidential election

Iran's Ahmadinejad registers to run for president

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad filed to run in Iran's upcoming presidential election, defying the wishes of the country's supreme leader that he not seek to return to the office.

He previously served two four-year terms from 2005 to 2013.

At least 120 people have submitted their names as candidates for president since registration opened on Tuesday, including several of Mr Ahmadinejad's allies.

During Ahmadinejad's administration, Iran faced heavy worldwide sanctions against for its nuclear program, which Western countries said aimed to develop weapons.

Iranian media reported that Ahmadinejad's close aide Hamid Baghaei, a former vice-president, also registered to run in the vote. The council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.

May's election is widely expected to be won by current moderate President Hassan Rouhani, best known outside the country for his negotiation of a nuclear deal with world powers. Their candidacies are subject to the approval of the Guardian Council, a powerful body in charge of vetting all applicants.

Ahmadinejad's decision to contest re-election is believed to be a mighty development in the purview of Syria war for which Saudi Arabia supports US.

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When asked why he had consistently denied intending to run in recent months, the former president reacted with a smile.

Ahmadinejad had said last week that he was not planning to run and would support Baghaei. Airplane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing Co. have struck billion-dollar deals.

Mr Ahmadjinejad was required to step down because of term limit rules in 2013, when President Hassan Rouhani won in a landslide on a promise to reduce Iran's worldwide isolation. The benefits have yet to trickle down to the average Iranian, though, fueling some discontent.

But if he does, his entry into the race is likely to take some of the shine off the hardliners' preferred candidate, Ebrahim Raisi. They also stand opposed to Iran's backing of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.

News of Ahmadinejad's bid became the topic of discussion across Tehran, leading news bulletins Wednesday night.

"The supreme leader requested that I don't stand and I had accepted", Mr Ahmadinejad told reporters.


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