Iranian State television reported Thursday that former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be barred from running in the upcoming Presidential election as he had planned. According to the Associated Press, a panel tasked with vetting presidential candidates approved current president Hassan Rouhani and five others to run in the election but disqualified Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad announced earlier this month that he had decided to run for president of Iran again, despite a warning from Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not to.
Last year, the Ayatollah warned Ahmadinejad that running for President again would be “not in his interest and that of the country.” Ahmadinejad told reporters that the Supreme Leader’s words were “just advice.”
The Associated Press reported that upon his original announcement, Iran was “stunned” by the former President’s decision. It was feared that Ahmadinejad’s decision would interfere with Rouhani’s chances of reelection as the public sees the former President as a leader who would be willing to stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump.
In February, Iranian media published a letter from Ahmadinejad to Trump in which the former leader of Iran discussed Trump’s policies and America’s involvement in the Middle East. The approximately 3,500 word letter came as criticism was growing in Tehran, Iran’s capital, about America’s new President and about the Islamic Republic being one of the seven nations that was included in Trump’s temporary travel ban.
“Your Excellency (Trump) has truthfully described the US political system and electoral structure as corrupt and anti-public,” Ahmadinejad wrote.
Ahmadinejad said that with over a million people of Iranian descent living in America, the U.S. would do well if they showed they respected that diversity.
“The presence and constructive effort of the elite and scientists of different nations, including the million-plus population of my Iranian compatriots has had a major role in the development of the US,” he said in the letter. “It is necessary that the spirit of the policies ruling the US, value respect toward the diversity of nations and races.”
He also added that because of the diversity of the United States, it essentially belongs to no one.
“The contemporary US belongs to all nations, including the natives of the land. No one may consider themselves the owner, and view others as guests or immigrants,” he said.