Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that he will run for re-election in the June 12 ballot. A former chief of the Revolutionary Guards also declared his candidacy, while at least two prominent moderates are expected to register.
AFP - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared himself as a candidate on Friday for a second term as the Islamic republic's president and told AFP he was "hopeful" of winning the June 12 election.
After registering, Ahmadinejad said he wanted to serve Iranians for a second time. "I just think about serving the people," he said.
When asked about the possible outcome of the election, the hardline leader replied: "When a nation comes to the arena the result is always good and surprising, and I am hopeful."
Ahmadinejad said the election "must consolidate the nation's unity and help in the progress of the country."
"Each election must be a step forward in achieving the objectives of the nation. Everybody must give what he has because this election will determine the country's next four years," he told reporters.
In his four years as president, Ahmadinejad has earned the wrath of global powers for his anti-Israel tirades and for doggedly pursuing Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
At home, he has been denounced by economists who blame the country's soaring inflation on his expansionary economic policies which they say have failed to reduce unemployment and poverty.
Criticism over his handling of the economy has overshadowed his trumpeting of Iranian advancements in space technology which saw the country launch its first home-built satellite in March.
Soon after his surprise victory in the 2005 presidential poll, Ahmadinejad gained worldwide notoriety when he said Israel was doomed to be "wiped off the map" and asserted the Holocaust was a "myth."
He has also antagonised the West by aggressively backing Tehran's nuclear programme, while insisting that Iran's controversial uranium enrichment project is purely peaceful.
Global powers want Iran to suspend enrichment, claiming it is aimed at making nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. Ahmadinejad insists the atomic energy programme is a "train without brakes and no reverse gear."
If re-elected, Ahmadinejad will remain at the helm at a time when a new chapter is opening in relations between Tehran and Washington.
US President Barack Obama's administration has extended a diplomatic hand towards Iran to resolve long-standing disputes between the two arch-foes.
His overtures saw Iran attend a US-backed international conference on war-ravaged Afghanistan in April, a strong indication of the changing mood within the Islamic republic.
In recent speeches, Ahmadinejad has also emphasised that Tehran is ready for talks if they are based on "mutual respect" and if Washington changes its policies towards Iran.
The ISNA news agency said the incumbent president was accompanied to the interior ministry to formally register his candidacy by his campaign manager Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi and media adviser Mehdi Kalhor, as well as by two vice presidents -- Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie and Ali Saeedlou.
Ahmadinejad, the second of the four leading candidates to register formally, also warned his supporters that he expected a clean campaign.
"Nobody is allowed to be aggressive towards other candidates in my name during the campaign. If someone does, it will be condemned," he said.
"Nobody is authorised to use state money and machinery for my campaigning. I will not be spending any money on my campaign and all my support is coming from the people."
Earlier on Friday, the ex-chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohsen Rezai, registered.
Rezai, who headed the Revolutionary Guards for 16 years until 1997, is the first conservative to challenge the incumbent.
Reformist former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi and moderate former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi are also expected to stand.
Date created : 2009-05-08