Iran: Ahmadinejad ousted from presidential race for “no reason”

Ahmadinejad’s application to be a candidate is Iran’s May presidential election has been rejected by the Guardian Council, the body that vets applicants, according to the Interior Ministry. The decision does not seem to come as a surprise after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s urged him not to run for elections because it is “not in his interest and that of the country.”
Ahmadinejad served as Iran’s president from 2005 to 2013. He said there was “no reason” for his disqualification. Although not in the race, he told Al Jazeera that “everyone, including Iran, must change their policies, especially in Syria” before explaining that “there should be a serious call for dialogue and peace based on the many common issues between us.” Khamenei considers him as a person that would “create bipolar opposites and divisions in the country” as president which he believes is “harmful for the country.”
Ahmadinejad registered alongside his former vice president Hamid Baghaie saying that his “presence and registration is only to support” him. More than 1600 people registered as candidates for the May 19 election but the Guardian Council only approved six; amongst them current President Hassan Rouhani and rival Ebrahim Raisi.
Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a close ally of Ahmadinejad, downplayed Ahmadinejad and Baghaie’s exclusion because they only registered out of “national, religious and revolutionary duty”, in a post on the social media. “Thank god, the Guardian Council removed the duty from their shoulders,” he wrote.
Tehran-based political analyst Soroush Farhadi, said the former president “was an unwanted guest in the election,” but would try to be active during the campaign to create a “quasi-opposition face for himself” for the future.
Ahmadinejad told reporters after his registration that Khamenei’s statement was “just advice” and an “advice was not a ban” on his candidacy as claimed by “some people.”

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