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Iran Bars Election Candidacies of Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad Aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei

Source: VOA

Iran says a conservative body has barred two prominent figures from competing in next month's presidential election -- moderate former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and a leading conservative allied to current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashai (L) registered his candidacy accompanied by Ahmadinejad

The Iranian interior ministry said Tuesday the Guardian Council of clerics and jurists excluded the two politicians from a final list of eight candidates approved for the June 14 vote. Hundreds of people had applied to be candidates for the election.

A Guardian Council spokesman said Monday the body would exclude any candidate deemed physically too weak to do the president's job. Many observers saw that as a reference to Mr. Rafsanjani, who is 78.

Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani

Ahmadinejad aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei also was disqualified. Ultraconservatives loyal to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had strongly opposed the potential candidacies of both Mashaei and Rafsanjani.

The approved list of candidates is dominated by ultraconservative loyalists of the Supreme Leader.

Mr. Ahmadinejad and his aides have fallen out of favor with ultraconservatives after years of power struggles with Iran's ruling clerics.

The Iranian president is constitutionally barred from running for a third term in office.

Related Articles:

Iran's security forces in place for announcement of candidates

- An Iranian opposition website reports that Tehran "has put on a military face" as the Guardian Council is set to announce today the presidential candidates that have been approved to run in the election. 5/21/13

Will Iran's Former President Rafsanjani Be Allowed To Run?

- Recent comments by members Iran's Guardians Council, the hard-line oversight body that vets all election candidates, have raised doubt that former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will be allowed to run in the June 14 presidential elections. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 5/21/13


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