(TEHRAN, Iran) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pick to succeed him won’t be doing that.
Iran’s Guardian Council decided on Tuesday that Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close presidential aide whose daughter happens to be married to Ahmadinejad’s son, is not eligible to run in the June 14 presidential election.
The electoral watchdog also decided that former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani could not get on the ballot of eight candidates that includes Saeed Jalili, the country’s chief nuclear negotiator.
The decision to exclude Mashaei, although a slap in the face to Ahmadinejad, was anticipated since he has long been at odds with Iran’s ruling theocracy.
Conservatives who support the ayatollah claim that Mashaei is unacceptable because he puts Iran ahead of Islam.
In the past, Mashaei angered the clergy by suggesting that Iran could forge close ties with Israel, as well as for applauding women who danced in a ceremony in Turkey. Women in Iran aren’t permitted to dance in public.
All of those on the ballot are establishment candidates, more in tune with the thinking of the hard-line clerics, who oppose any association with the West.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Holly Yan, David Williams and Steve Almasy, CNN
Don Melvin and Greg Botelho, CNN Newswire