Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s handpicked successor has been booted off of Iran’s presidential ballot. So has former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Esfandiar Mashei has been close to the current President but has been knocked off the ballot after Ahmadinjead has deepened disagreements with the country’s supreme cleric Khameinei.
Mashaie is viewed with suspicion by figures from Iran’s conservative establishment, who believe he heads a “deviant current” that seeks to sideline clerical authority.
They also believe that Ahmadinejad, who has fallen out with Iran’s conservatives since his disputed 2009 re-election and cannot seek a third consecutive term because of constitutional limits, seeks to maintain power through his ally.
Following the disqualification of hundreds of would-be presidential candidates in Iran, including two top figures from the ballot, the United States slammed the Islamic Republic’s electoral body on Tuesday for “vague” decision-making.