First Published: 2013-05-11


Ahmadinejad’s brother replaces his close ally in Iran presidential race


Some observers believe Ahmadinejad has probably dragged his brother into electoral marathon to avoid nomination of his close ally Rahim Mashaei.


Middle East Online

‘My sole objective is to serve Iranian people’

TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks determined to maintain his family’s influence in Iran as conservatives accuse him of trying to undermine the mullahs’ regime.

According to Mehr news agency, the elder brother of the Iranian President came to the Interior Ministry Saturday morning to register his name as a candidate in the June presidential election.

Shortly after filing his candidacy, Ahmadinejad’s brother said that he would run "as an independent” and that his sole objective consists in serving the Iranian people.

Some observers believe that Ahmadinejad has probably resorted to drag his brother into the electoral marathon to avoid the nomination of his close ally and assistant Rahim Mashaei, who has not announced his participation in the election yet.

Conservatives are suspicious of Mashaei and consider him as a leader of a "deviant current" which seeks to undermine the influence of the religious leadership in favour of secular nationalism.

Ahmadinejad is constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term.

His successor is expected to face an array of challenges, including Iran's worsening economy targeted by international sanctions over its uranium enrichment activities.

On Saturday, Iran's moderate former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, veteran diplomat Ali Akbar Velayati, Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili also registered to stand in the election, the first since 2009 which saw massive street protests erupting after Ahmadinejad's re-election.

Rafsanjani has been isolated since the 2009 presidential election, which saw massive street protests against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Jalili, 47, joins several conservative hopefuls aiming to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran is expected to wrap up the five-day registration of candidates on Saturday, leaving the fate of the hopefuls in the hands of the Guardians Council, an unelected body controlled by religious conservatives appointed by Khamenei.

The council will vet the candidates to ensure they adhere to constitutional conditions of being faithful to the principles of the Islamic republic and its official religion, before announcing the final list of hopefuls no later than May 23.

Approved candidates will then have three weeks to campaign before polling day on June 14.


Thousands take to streets to demand departure of Barzani

'Terrorist' attack kills at least 86 people in Ankara

Jordan parliament accuses Israel of 'state terrorism'

Bashir twists knife in Sudan wound as flawed dialogue kicks off

Iran announces dates for oil and gas conference in London

Qaeda in Yemen executes four on suspicion of sorcery

Egypt agrees to buy two Mistral warships from France

Israel struggles to contain spreading unrest as death toll rises

PKK Kurdish rebels declare ‘state of inactivity’

Syria Assad forces advance with Russia air support

World leaders urge Libya rivals to sign long-awaited peace deal

Nobel Peace Prize boosts pluralistic democracy in Tunisia

UN chief hails Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize

Israeli troops kill 4 near Gaza border as Hamas praises 'Jerusalem intifada'

US to 'refocus' failed Syrian rebel training programme

France carries out second wave of strikes on IS targets in Syria

Nobel Peace Prize goes to Tunisian democracy group

Iran Revolutionary Guards commander killed in Syria

IS militants advance on Syria's Aleppo

Jew stabs four Arabs in southern Israel

UN envoy proposes Libya unity government led by Sarraj

At least 13 killed in Yemen wedding bombing

Three more stabbing attacks as Palestine-Israel violence continues

Violence in Jerusalem continues

Turkey gives EU's migrant plan offer lukewarm reception

Erdogan uses nuclear, gas deals to pressure Russia over Syria

HRW urges statement from West over imprisoned Bahrain dissidents

EU aim to have migrant 'hotspots' ready by end of November ‘unrealistic’

Russian volunteers fighting for Assad regime

Israeli PM bars ministers from Al-Aqsa compound

US has not yet made decision on Syria no-fly zone

After nuclear deal, Iran takes central role to end Syria war

Escape or temporary move: Erdogan son settles in Italy

ISIS attack complicates task for Arab coalition in Yemen

Syria army launches broad ground operation in Hama province

Israel-Palestinian unrest at risk of turning into religious war

Number of confirmed cholera cases rises to 1,200 in Iraq

Russia ‘ready’ to establish contacts with Free Syrian Army

Turkey arrests six people over 'minting coins for ISIS’

US insists no military cooperation with Russia in Syria conflict

Russia warships fire cruise missiles to back Syria army operation

New violence rocks Israel, West Bank

Mortar attack wounds Lebanon soldiers near border with Syria

Iraq forces recapture several areas around Ramadi

Saleh’s party ‘ready’ for UN-brokered Yemen peace