Iran's former president to run again for office

Iran's former president to run again for office

Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will run again for office in upcoming elections in June, raising the possibility of a bolstered hardline leadership at a time of tense negotiations with the West.

Thronged by shouting supporters, Ahmadinejad marched to a registration center at the Interior Ministry where he filled out registration forms. He held up his hands in a “V for Victory” salute, before addressing reporters, The AP reported.

Ahmadinejad in recent years has tried to polish his hardline image into a more centrist candidacy, criticizing the government for mismanagement.

Ahmadinejad has previously been banned from running for the presidency by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017, although then, he registered anyway. A constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council ultimately disqualified him.

Khamenei says he will not oppose the nomination of any candidate, although the electoral council may still block Ahmadinejad's candidacy. In either case, the populist's return to the political scene may energize discontent among hard-liners who seek a tougher stance against the west — particularly Israel and the U.S.

Iran opened registration on Tuesday, kicking off the race as uncertainty looms over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers and tensions remain high with the West.

Ahmadinejad entered office in 2005 and left in 2013, after the election of President Hassan Rouhani, who would go onto to make the nuclear deal with world powers. Yet even out of office, Ahmadinejad sought to reinvigorate his political fortunes in public and on social media.