Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad disqualified from running in upcoming presidential election
Written by Malek   

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state TV said Thursday that the body charged with vetting candidates has disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month's presidential election. It carried an Interior Ministry statement saying that President Hassan Rouhani has been approved to run for re-election, along with hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who is considered close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad, who remains a deeply polarizing figure even among Iranian hard-liners, had shocked the country by registering last week. Khamenei had previously urged him not to run. Ahmadinejad was president from 2005 to 2013, and was best known abroad for his incendiary rhetoric toward Israel, his questioning of the scale of the Holocaust and his efforts to ramp up Iran's nuclear program. The Guardian Council, a cleric-dominated body that vets candidates, said it had compiled a final list of candidates earlier Thursday and that the Interior Ministry would announce their names by Sunday.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and leading hardliner Ebrahim Raisi have both been approved to run in elections next month, state media has reported.The nominations of Mr Rouhani and Mr Raisi will lead to a showdown between bitterly divided political camps. Mr Raisi is a seyed, meaning he traces his genealogy back to the Prophet Muhammad. He has a reputation for his uncompromising stance on key issues and is rumoured to be supported by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Mr Rouhani and Mr Raisi are expected to focus their campaigns on the state of the economy as well as the nuclear deal, which has been hailed by the president as his most significant success over the four years he has been in office.