Middle East

Ahmadinejad allies say Iran leader told him not to run again

  • In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei talks to clerics in his Islamic thoughts class in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. Close allies of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say Iran's supreme leader has recommended he not run in next May's presidential election because he is a polarizing figure among hard-liners. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

    In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei talks to clerics in his Islamic thoughts class in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. Close allies of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say Iran's supreme leader has recommended he not run in next May's presidential election because he is a polarizing figure among hard-liners. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture taken on Friday, July 1, 2016, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, is greeted by well wishers while attending an annual pro-Palestinian rally marking Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day at the Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) St. in Tehran, Iran. Close allies of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say Iran's supreme leader has recommended he not run in next May's presidential election because he is a polarizing figure among hard-liners. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    In this picture taken on Friday, July 1, 2016, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, is greeted by well wishers while attending an annual pro-Palestinian rally marking Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day at the Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) St. in Tehran, Iran. Close allies of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say Iran's supreme leader has recommended he not run in next May's presidential election because he is a polarizing figure among hard-liners. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)  (The Associated Press)

Close allies of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say Iran's supreme leader has recommended he not run in next May's presidential election because he is a polarizing figure among hard-liners.

Mohammad Reza Mirtajeddini, Ahmadinejad's vice president from 2009 to 2013, and former hard-line parliamentarian Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam confirmed the news to the website Khabar Online on Monday.

Moghadam said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's advice amounted to a "serious state objection" to Ahmadinejad's potential candidacy, and that the former president would follow his advice.

Khamenei had earlier said he recommended that a potential candidate not run, in order to prevent division in the country, without naming him.

Ahmadinejad, whose disputed 2009 re-election sparked widespread protests and violence, remains a controversial figure in Iran, even among fellow hard-liners.