Ahmadinejad No Match for Rouhani

Ahmadinejad No Match for RouhaniAhmadinejad No Match for Rouhani

A reformist politician says "the lamentable record" of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes him incapable of seriously challenging President Hassan Rouhani in the 2017   presidential elections.

"In political terms  Ahmadinejad is a spent force," Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, a senior member of the Association of Combatant Clerics, said in a talk with IRNA on Sunday.

Known for his fierce anti-western rhetoric, the 59-year-old windbreaker-wearing Ahmadinejad is mired in deep controversy. Impartial observers and respected analysts believe that squandering of public funds on populist policies, systemic corruption, dysfunctional foreign policy and lawlessness are hallmarks of his two terms in office.

"I think Ahmadinejad can only get a tiny share of the vote, which will not help him get into office again" should he decided to run, said the cleric, who is also a member of the Reformist Policymaking Council.  

  Talks of Comeback

After three years in the political hinterland and out of the public eye, last year the principlist Ahmadinejad began making public appearances that led to reports of his comeback.

So far the conservative figure has made neither made any announcement about his future nor addressed speculations that he plans to contest the next presidential election.

"Talks about his candidacy in the presidential election are like a joke," Mousavi Lari, a former interior, said.

"How can Ahmadinejad defend his performance [as a president]? Can he get rid of financial corruption charges [against his close aides and confidantes]?"

In recent years, high-level corruption allegations have been made against some former government officials who worked under his watch. Notably, his vice president, Morteza Rahimi, received a severe sentence last year for involvement in a bribery case.

"Until now, Rouhani has shown restraint and not publicized a huge part of his (Ahmadinejad's) wrongdoings," Mousavi Lari said. "If Rouhani decides to reveal the magnitude of problems Ahmadinejad and his men created for the people, (then) you will see whether or not a single person votes for him."