Ahmadinejad Disqualified, Rohani Approved for Running in Iran's Presidential Election

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president, shocked the country by registering, although Ayatollah Khamenei previously urged him to not run

Iran's then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greets Venezuelans upon his arrival at the National Assembly for Nicolas Maduro's inaugural ceremony in Caracas, Venezuela, April 19, 2013.
Fernando Llano, AP

Iranian state TV says the clerical body charged with vetting candidates has disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month's presidential election. Iran's current moderate President Hassan Rohani, who negotiated the nuclear deal with world powers, has passed the vetting process.

Ahmadinejad, who remains a deeply polarizing figure even among Iranian hard-liners, had shocked the country by registering last week. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had previously urged him not to run. However, many hard-liners in Iran seek a tough-talking candidate to rally around who can stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump.

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.

Two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption since he left office. Iran's economy suffered under heavy international sanctions during his administration because of Western suspicions that Tehran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009 sparked massive protests and a sweeping crackdown in which thousands of people were detained and dozens were killed.

The Guardian Council, a clerical 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.