President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s handpicked successor Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, in
addition to several reformist candidates including former president Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani, have been left off the list of approved presidential
candidates by Iran’s Guardian Council for the June election.
Ahmadinejad, who has had a falling out with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he plans to appeal the decision.
“I believe the right of an oppressed man won't be trampled at this level in a country where there is Velayat-e-Faqih [guardianship of Islamic jurist],” Ahmadinejad said, the Associated Press reported.
Rafsanjani, on the other hand, was purportedly barred from the list due to his advanced age. But most analysts believe it is because of his support for reformist candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi in the contested 2009 election that launched widespread riots known as the “Green Revolution.”
While the approved list of eight candidates includes several hardliners and loyalists to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, two candidates are seen as pro-reform: former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani and former vice president Mohammad Reza Aref, according to the Associated Press.