TEHRAN – Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been disqualified from running in next month’s presidential election, according to state media.
The decision on Thursday was taken by the Guardian Council, a clerical body charged with vetting candidates for the May 19 election.
In a surprise move, Ahmadinejad registered as a candidate last week, despite previously saying he would not stand.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had previously urged him not to run. Ahmadinejad left office in August 2013 after two turbulent four-year terms, leaving the country divided domestically, isolated internationally and struggling economically.
In 2009, Ahmadinejad’s re-election was followed by one the largest protests to hit the country since the Islamic Revolution three decades before.
Ahmadinejad’s populist approach and humble roots mean that he remains a popular figure among poorer sections of society.
The Guardian Council said it had compiled a final list of candidates earlier on Thursday and that the interior ministry would announce their names by Sunday.