By BILL CHAPPELL
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has registered to run for his third term as Iran’s president, putting a jolt into next month’s elections. He’s the latest hardline challenger to emerge against President Hassan Rouhani, declaring his candidacy in a move that caught many by surprise.
“Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009 provoked street protests that were violently put down,” NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports. “Hardliners have struggled to rally behind a single candidate to challenge President Rouhani, who’s hoping that a general uptick in the economy since the Iran nuclear deal with world powers will boost his chances. The recovery, however, has yet to reach most ordinary Iranians.”
Ahmadinejad, 60, had been expected to sit out the election set for May 19 — in fact, that’s what he said he would do last September, adding that he was obeying the wishes of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the news site al-Monitor.
Khamenei has said he told Ahmadinejad not to seek a third term “both for his own and the country’s good,” as the Tehran Times reports.