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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Iran can be better managed

Former president of Iran talks about his surprise election run and calls for regional peace and unity.

In a move that shocked Iranians and many in the international community, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former president, registered to run in next month’s presidential election.

What is required today is a serious call for dialogue, peace and understanding according to our common interests - and they are many. What can justify wasting the wealth of the region's peoples to ignite wars against peoples of the region?

by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former president of Iran

He left office in August 2013, after two four-year terms marked by his anti-Western rhetoric. And his decision to run this year went against the advice of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But Ahmadinejad claimed that his registration only aimed to support the candidacy of his political ally, Hamid Baghaei.

Under Iran’s electoral system, all submissions must be assessed by the Guardian Council. It is a cleric-dominated body that plays a central role in the country’s political arena due to its legislative functions and judicial authority. 

On Thursday April 20, Iranian state television announced that the council had approved six candidates for the election on May 19, including the incumbent president Hassan Rouhani.

But Ahmadinejad was disqualified by the council.

In an interview recorded just a few days earlier, he called for regional unity and claimed that it is possible to run Iran better than it is now. 

Asked about the potential changes in his agenda after two four-year terms, and particularly in the fields of economics, politics and social issues, the former president said focussing on the people of Iran is a must. 

“Today, in addition to past experience, a large part of our programme aims at improving the economic conditions and the internal situation of the country … Our programme is based on the fact that the wealth of the people must be returned to the people, and that all the people must play a role in running the country. Economically, the banking system must see a lot of reforms to be proportional to the demands of society and to put into account the Islamic laws, in addition to the determinants of production and services.”

On the “real revolution” that followed the end of his presidency, Ahmadinejad states that the term “revolution” is inapplicable and that the current government has not dramatically altered his policies nor has it created a world of change. 

“What happened was not a revolution and this term is inaccurate. Revolution means to change the rules and foundations and this did not happen. When it comes to economy, we are still in the same place and we suffer from some decline. Revolution holds the seeds of improvement and progress but what we see today is decline. When it comes to foreign policies, I do not see any real progress as our relations with so many of our neighbours are not in the best shape … I do not want to say that the default is caused by our government, but I will say that it is certainly possible to improve the current conditions and situations nationally and internationally as they are not better today than they were four years ago.” 

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