Iran election: Ahmadinejad registers despite Khamenei warning
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has registered as a candidate in Iran's presidential election, despite being told not to by the Supreme Leader.
Mr Ahmadinejad, a hardliner who served two terms between 2005 and 2013, filed paperwork for the 19 May poll at the interior ministry in Tehran.
Last year, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned him that such a move was "not in his interest and that of the country".
But Mr Ahmadinejad told reporters on Tuesday that had been "just advice".
Associated Press journalists who witnessed Mr Ahmadinejad register on Tuesday said election officials were "stunned" when he submitted the paperwork.
President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who negotiated a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, is yet to register but it widely expected to seek a second term.
More than 120 people, including six women, submitted their names on the first day of registration on Monday, according to local media.
Once the process ends on Saturday, the prospective candidates will be screened for their political and Islamic qualifications by the Guardian Council.
The clerical body will announce a final list of vetted candidates on 27 April.
Speaking after submitting his paperwork Mr Ahmadinejad said he was "committed to my moral promise" of not running and was only helping his close confident and former Vice-President, Hamid Baqai, who registered alongside him.
"I registered merely to support Baqai and I will act according to the [supreme] leader's advice," he said. "I'll be serving Mr Baqai with all my power."
He added: "Some people say that the [supreme leader's] advice was meant to completely forbid [me from running], but what the leader said was just advice."
Ayatollah Khamenei said he had told him not to stand because it would "create bipolar opposites and divisions in the country which I believe is harmful".
The disputed re-election of Mr Ahmadinejad in 2009 triggered the biggest protests in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Millions demanded a re-run, but the supreme leader insisted the result was valid and ordered a major crackdown on dissent whose impact is still being felt today.
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