A protege of Iran's outgoing president says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies will make a comeback as a future force in Iranian politics.

A report Tuesday by the pro-reform Shargh daily quotes Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei as saying Ahmadinejad and his loyalists will "return" to power someday.

Ahmadinejad will be replaced in August by president-elect Hasan Rouhani, who won nearly 51 percent of the votes in the June 15 balloting.

Ahmadinejad was banned under Iran's constitution from running for a third consecutive term, but he could run in some future presidential election.

His protege, Mashaei, was disqualified from running by the country's election overseers.

Ahmadinejad reportedly appealed three times to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei but the efforts failed to restore Mashaei as a candidate.