Underscoring the ongoing political infighting between outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the nation’s religious conservatives, an Iranian court has imposed a six-month ban on one of its own state-run newspapers.
The official reason was “false reporting,” though the Iran Newspaper is seen as the closest to President Ahmadinejad among the nation’s dailies, and keeping it off the shelves through this month’s election and any potential run-off votes could limit Ahmadinejad’s influence on who his successor might be.
Ahmadinejad has already expressed annoyance at the pre-election screening process, in which his close ally and hand-picked successor former Vice President Esfandier Mashaei was disqualified as a candidate. It isn’t clear who his choice would be among the eight remaining candidates.
Yet Ahmadinejad has been out of favor for a long time among religious hardliners and allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and with many of the candidates seen as much closer to Khamenei than Ahmadinejad ever was, so any endorsement from the outgoing president could only hurt their chances at any rate.