So, former President Ahmadinejad has been disqualified from running as President in the May elections. Perhaps this brings to a conclusive end the media speculation buzzing around his running in the first place.
Most articles focusing on this issue viewed his running as an act of defiance. The title in Reuters was “Iran’s Ahmadinejad defies supreme leader to attempt comeback”. They quote also the analysis that his candidacy is “an affront” to the supreme leader, Khamenei, who had publicly barred him from running. The firstpost also described this step as an act of defiance, mainly due to the fact that Khamenei instructed him not to run, and even received confirmation in writing. Yet, Ahmadinejad decided to interpret this as “advice” only.
The nytimes attempted to give additional interpretations to his stunning act. They proposed that it was a political stunt in order to help the candidacy of his close confidant Hamid Baghaei. Thus, assuming that if he is disqualified, it will increase the probability that Baghaei will not be barred. If that was the reasoning behind his act, then it was mistaken, because Baghei was also excluded. The washingtonpost did not offer any further insight to the reasoning here, besides the idea that in contrast to the weak image of Rouhani, he enjoyed the image of the “strong hand” or “tough talker” against US President Trump.
No doubt, there is a lack of a comprehensive understanding and analysis of this phenomenon.
We can assume that no-one in the west will shed tears over the disqualifying of Ahmadinejad. His anti-western rhetoric, sordid character, visions of western demise and holocaust denial were seen with contempt. But none of these aspects were behind his disqualification.
If one does assume that it was a defiant act, then one must take it one step further. Ahmadinejad has obviously identified a piercing weakness in the supreme leader. To interpret explicit instructions as “advice” requires arrogance. It would come as no surprise to anyone that Ahmadinejad is an arrogant man, but this time his arrogance targeted the Supreme Leader, not the west. Soroush Farhadian, quoted in firstpost, theorized that his candidacy was “an organized mutiny against Iran’s ruling system”. In the past, such acts of mutiny and total disregard of the Supreme leader’s instructions would have been regarded as treason and heresy, punishable by death. People in Iran are executed for much less than that. After all, “insult to the supreme leader” is an official offence in Iran punishable by death.
The disqualifying of Ahmadinejad is also a sharp demonstration of the undemocratic pre-screening of candidates in Iran. One cannot stick security hazards or disloyalty accusations against Ahmadinejad. It is clear that his prohibition is pure disfavor, thus political. Further proof of the political disqualifying of candidates, according to whim and will of the council.
It would seem that this occurrence requires further elaboration.