Iran’s supreme leader has told former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not to stand again in next year’s elections, state media reported on Monday, effectively eliminating a major challenger to pragmatist incumbent Hassan Rouhani.
Ahmadinejad had not announced any plans to run in the vote scheduled for May, but has made several speeches in recent months, prompting speculation of a political comeback.
A simple explanation of this is that Khamenei didn’t want Ahmadinejad to make Iran look stupid once again, as he did when he was president. In days of isolation, it didn’t make much difference; now that the country is opening up to the world, the image-conscious Iranians–the most fashionable and sophisticated people in the Middle East, their current regime notwithstanding–don’t need the kind of publicity that Ahmadinejad brings.
The linked article also mentions this:
Ahmadinejad was first elected president in 2005. His disputed win in the 2009 election prompted the Islamic Republic’s biggest protests and a security crackdown in which several people were killed and hundreds were arrested.
He’s a polarising figure, even at home. It’s also worth mentioning that, to put down the “Green Revolution,” the Iranian government brought in Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and Syria to help put down the uprising. That’s because the government worried that their own troops wouldn’t shoot at their own people, and Hezbollah’s fighters didn’t care.