686 presidential candidates try to succeed Ahmadinejad in Iran
(CNN) — Hundreds of candidates are vying to become
Iran’s next president, with hopefuls ranging from friends to foes of
current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
A total of 686 candidates have registered for the June election, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported.
Ahmadinejad is term-limited and cannot run for a third straight term.
But other big names are
in the mix, including Ahmadinejad’s top aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei and
former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Ahmadinejad has been
grooming Mashaei to take over for years, and the two are like-minded in
their nationalism and shared disdain for the clerical establishment, according to Geneive Abdo, a fellow at the Stimson Center’s Middle East Program and a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution.
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