Ahmadinejad Charges Could Follow Election Appearance With Former Aide

Image: Ahmadinejad Charges Could Follow Election Appearance With Former Aide Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, and his close ally Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, flash victory signs after registering Mashaei's candidacy for the upcoming presidential election, May 11, 2013.

Monday, 13 May 2013 10:06 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who appeared with his former chief of staff to register for June's presidential election vote, may face charges, the country's electoral watchdog reported.

Iran's electoral law forbids the use of state resources on behalf of or against any candidate, and bans individuals from supporting candidates in an official capacity, according to Reuters.

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Abbas Ali Kadkhodai, a spokesman for the Guardian Council, said the council's supervisory board unanimously agreed "the... actions of the president in introducing an individual as an election candidate constituted a violation and were criminal," according to Khabaronline, an Iranian news site.

"We reported the facts to the judiciary," Kadkhodai said.

The Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists, vets all candidates for elections.

Ahmadinejad is banned on constitutional grounds from running in the June 14 presidential poll, the first since 2009, when protests erupted over his disputed win against reformist rivals.

Ahmadinejad accompanied Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie on Saturday to register at the Interior Ministry. Photographs in the Iranian media showed Ahmadinejad and Mashaie gripping hands and making peace signs.

According to the Mehr news agency, Kadkhodai said election violations could affect the Guardian Council's vetting process, suggesting Mashaie's candidacy could be under threat.

Since the 2009 ballot, Ahmadinejad has fallen foul of Iran's ruling conservatives, who believe he is trying to maintain influence via a Mashaie presidency.

Mashaie, who is still part of Ahmadinejad's entourage, is viewed with suspicion by conservatives who accuse him of leading a "deviant current" that seeks to sideline clerical power in favor of a more nationalistic doctrine.

Mashaie said Ahmadinejad had appeared with him at the polls on "a day off" from work.

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