Six ap­proved for pres­i­den­tial run; Ah­madine­jad blocked

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

An Ira­nian panel charged with vet­ting can­di­dates ap­proved the coun­try’s in­cum­bent pres­i­dent and five chal­lengers but dis­qual­i­fied for­mer hard-line Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad from run­ning in next month’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, state tele­vi­sion re­ported Thurs­day.

The de­ci­sion by the Guardian Coun­cil means that Pres­i­dent Hassan Rouhani, a rel­a­tive mod­er­ate, will face off against a field that in­cludes two prom­i­nent hard-lin­ers: Ebrahim Raisi, who is con­sid­ered close to Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, and Tehran Mayor Mo­ham­mad Bagher Qal­ibaf.

The Guardian Coun­cil, a cleric-dom­i­nated body, con­trols elec­tions and must ap­prove all laws passed by par­lia­ment. It has never al­lowed a woman to run for pres­i­dent and rou­tinely re­jects po­lit­i­cal dis­si­dents and oth­ers call­ing for dra­matic re­form.

Mr. Ah­madine­jad was pres­i­dent from 2005 to 2013, and was best known abroad for his in­cen­di­ary rhetoric to­ward Is­rael, his questioning of the scale of the Holo­caust and his ef­forts to ramp up Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram.

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