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Divisive figures enter Iran race

on May 12, 2013 2:00 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A pair of powerful and divisive figures registered Saturday to run in Iran’s presidential election, jolting the political landscape ahead of next month’s vote to pick a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who still wields enormous influence, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close confidant of Ahmadinejad, submitted their official paperwork just before Saturday’s deadline. Each has a good shot at winning the vote, raising a tough challenge to conservative candidates loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The race to choose a successor to Ahmadinejad, who under term-limit rules cannot seek a third mandate, culminates with the June 14 vote.

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