Iranian lawmakers join complaint against Ahmadinejad

Over half of Tehran’s parliament backs inquiry into president’s alleged election violations

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A report says more than half the members of Iran’s parliament have joined a complaint against the president for accompanying his chief adviser when he registered for June’s election.

The semi-official Mehr news agency reported Monday that more than 150 of the 290 members added their names to the inquiry by Iran’s constitutional watchdog. It’s looking into whether President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad violated the law by accompanying his chief adviser, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, to register for the presidential election.

Responding to the allegations, Ahmadinejad’s website said he did not break the law because he was on leave Saturday, when Mashaei registered. The statement said Ahmadinejad is not involved in the election. Ahmadinejad cannot serve another term.

The dispute appears to stem from a power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Iran’s ruling clerics.

The reawakened Iran’s presidential election process, which now includes more than 680 hopefuls, will culminate June 14 with just a handful of names on the ballot to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The common wisdom held that the ruling clerics, which vet all the candidates, would clear only an establishment-friendly slate and pro-reform voters would be kept on the margins after years of withering crackdowns. The decision by another former president, Mohammad Khatami, to stay out of the race appeared to seal the scenario.

However, the near last minute announcement by 78-year-old elder statesman and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has openly challenged that equation.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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