Ahmadinejad allies say Iran leader told him not to run again

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

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.