(File photo) Former Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Photograph:( AFP )
Ahmadinejad's presidency was marked by fiery rhetoric against Israel and deep tensions with the West, notably over Iran's nuclear programme which he enthusiastically championed
Former Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday submitted application for his candidacy to succeed incumbent President Hassan Rouhani. Elections are due in Iran next month. The 64-year-old populist was applauded by several dozen supporters as he arrived at the interior ministry to submit his application.
"Millions of people across the country have invited me to stand for election, and even ordered me to come here to register, placing a heavy responsibility on my shoulders," Ahmadinejad said.
The build-up to June 18 polls comes as Iran and world powers wrangle over reviving a 2015 nuclear accord, from which the US withdrew unilaterally in 2018, reimposing crippling sanctions.
Hopefuls can register their names by Saturday (May 15). The names will be vetted by conservative-dominated Guardian Council. A list of approved candidates will be published by May 27.The campaign will begin after that.
As per Iranian media, Ahmadinejad's chances of being approved are close to zero.
Ahmadinejad has said that if his candidacy is not approved, he will "not participate" in the election, either by backing a candidate or voting.
Ahmadinejad claimed, as he has often done in recent years, that the Iranian people have lost confidence in the country's authorities.
He added that he considered the upcoming election "perhaps the last chance" to save the Islamic republic in the face of "very sensitive" challenges, both domestic and international.
Iran's president from 2005 to 2013, Ahmadinejad had to stand down at the end of two consecutive terms as per the constitution. His successor Rouhani will face the same obligation in June.
Ahmadinejad's presidency was marked by fiery rhetoric against Israel and deep tensions with the West, notably over Iran's nuclear programme which he enthusiastically championed.
Reinforced by UN Security Council sanctions, punitive measures cost Iran's economy billions in vital oil revenues and foreign investment, leaving the country struggling with raging inflation, high unemployment and a depreciated currency.
(With inputs from agencies)