Mahmoud Ahmadinejad former president of Iran, speaks at a press conference after registering as a candidate for the presidential election at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran June 2, 2024. REUTERS./

 – Iran’s hardline former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has registered to run for president in the country’s June 28 election, organized after the death of Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash last month, Iran’s state television reported on Sunday.

However he could be barred from the race: the country’s cleric-led Guardian Council will vet candidates, and publish the list of qualified ones on June 11.

Ahmadinejad, a former member of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, was first elected as Iran’s president in 2005 and stepped down because of term limits in 2013.

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He was barred from standing in the 2017 election by the Guardian Council, a year after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned him that entering was “not in his interest and that of the country”.

A rift developed between the two after Ahmadinejad explicitly advocated checks on Khamenei’s ultimate authority.

In 2018, in rare criticism directed at Khamenei, Ahmadinejad wrote to him calling for “free” elections.

Khamenei had backed Ahmadinejad after his 2009 re-election triggered protests in which dozens of people were killed and hundreds arrested, rattling the ruling theocracy, before security forces led by the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) stamped out the unrest.

(Reporting by Elwely Elwelly and Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Frances Kerry)

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