Iran

Ahmadinejad Challenging Chief of Staff's Election Ban

Iranian presidential election to be held this summer

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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday he would ask Iran's supreme leader to reverse a ban preventing his aide from running in next month's presidential poll, a test of stability after the violent trauma of the 2009 vote.

The Guardian Council, charged with vetting all candidates, disqualified Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, Ahmadinejad's former chief of staff, on Tuesday, as well as ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the June 14 election, leaving a field dominated by hardliners loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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