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Middle East

Iran's Ahmadinejad pledges to stay out of next election

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he will not run in next year's presidential election. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, had opposed Ahmadinejad's candidacy.

In a letter from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said he would not stand in Iran's next presidential election, scheduled for next year.

"I am proud to continue as a small leader for the revolution," Ahmadinejad wrote in the letter, which was also published on his website.

Observers had speculated that Ahmadinejad had been preparing for another run at the presidency after a string of recent tours around the country.

Ahmadinejad served two terms as Iran's president from 2005 to 2013. He was not eligible for a third term. His victory in the 2009 election was controversial, as it came amidst massive protests and a contested vote. Hundreds were arrested and dozens killed in the crackdown that followed the election.

This may have played a role in Khamenei's request that he not run, although his initial comments Monday did not call out Ahmadinejad specifically. Ahmadinejad confirmed that it was he Khamenei referred to when advising an unnamed politician to avoid running for the presidency to avoid a "polarized situation" that would be "harmful" to Iran.

"You advised me it's not expedient to run and I announced my obedience" Ahmadinejad wrote to Khamenei. "I hereby inform you regarding the supreme leader's considerations, I have no plan for the next year's elections competition."

Ahmadinejad and Khamenei met at the end of August, where the issue apparently came up.

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Many Iranians have yet to feel the benefits

mz/kms (AP, Reuters)

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