Divisive figures enter Iran race
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.