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Ahmadinejad Barred from Iran’s Presidential Race | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shows his identification during registering his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections. Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi, AP

London- An Iranian election committee approved Thursday for six candidates, including current President Hassan Rouhani, to run for the country’s presidential elections next month, but rejected a request by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his close ally Hamid Baghaie.

The Guardian Council, a government vetting body that decides which candidates could run in May’s elections, selected three conservative candidates -Ebrahim Raisi, Mostafa Mirsalim, and Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf – in addition to Rouhani, Mostafa Hashemitaba, and Rouhani’s ally and vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri, who are moderates.

The council, however, disqualified Ahmadinejad – a two-term president – Baghaie, the brother of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Hashemi, and conservative parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani.

Ahmadinejad had threatened to uncover secrets related to the regime, including an electoral fraud to his advantage during the 2009 presidential elections, the reformist website in Iran, Amad News, reported.

The Guardian Council examined the qualifications of more than 1,600 candidates who registered to run for president.

Meanwhile, Iran’s interior ministry said Thursday there would be no live debates in the run-up to the elections.

“Based on a decision by the Election Campaign Monitoring Commission, the election debates of the candidates will be broadcast pre-recorded,” interior ministry spokesman Seyed Salman Samani said.

Following the ministry’s announcement, Rouhani called for the decision to be reviewed.

“I support the mostly independent way in which Iranians could receive information on the candidates and the elections,” Rouhani said.

The council’s spokesman, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, said on Thursday that candidates should stay away from hurting the image of their competitors and respect the electoral law, ISNA reported.

The election commission also issued guidelines for the debates, and said candidates are not allowed “to tarnish the image of the country, or the actions of the executive, administrative, legislative or judicial bodies.”