Iran’s state television reports that the country’s former firebrand president will run again for office in elections in June.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly marched accompanied by supporters to a registration center at the Interior Ministry where he filled out registration forms.
Ahmadinejad in recent years has tried to polish his hardline image into a more centrist candidacy, criticizing the government for mismanagement.
The Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad has previously been banned from running for the presidency by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017, although then, he registered anyway. A constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council ultimately disqualified him then.
Khamenei says he will not oppose the nomination of any candidate, although the electoral council may still block Ahmadinejad’s candidacy. In either case, the populist’s return to the political scene may energize discontent among hardliners who seek a tougher stance against the West — particularly Israel and the US.
Iran opened registration on Tuesday, kicking off the race as uncertainty looms over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers and tensions remain high with the West.