Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a big splash with his theatrical eleventh-hour entry into the 2017 presidential race, with some Iranian analysts immediately declaring him the third man in a three-way race (which has about 1,600 also-rans).
However, there were always doubts about whether the clerical council that oversees the presidential election would allow his name to remain on the ballot.
It seems they have decided against it, as Iranian state television reported on Thursday that Ahmadinejad has been disqualified from the election by the Guardian Council.
The Guardian Council is a 12-member clerical body whose powers include vetting election candidates. Another newsmaking recent edict from the head of the Guardian Council declared it was a violation of Islamic law for non-Muslims to run for lower offices in Shiite-majority cities and towns.
Half of the membership is appointed by the theocratic Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who told Ahmadinejad not to run for president last year. Ahmadinejad’s disregard for the Supreme Leader’s “advice” was considered surprising, perhaps even shocking.
The list of approved candidates for the Iranian presidential election reportedly does include incumbent President Hassan Rouhani. There had been speculation the Guardian Council would disqualify him as punishment for his clashes with the ayatollahs.