Told to not run by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khaemenei, 60-year-old firebrand former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced his intention to run for president against 68-year-old Presdient Hassan Rouhani. Running Iran from August 3, 2005 to Aug. 3, 2013, Ahamdinejad antagonized the United States and Israel, leading the death-to-America chants and denying the Holocaust. Told not to run by Khamenei Aug. 26, 2016, Ahmadinejad dismissed the Ayatollah’s comments as “just advice.” Once a lightening rod for anti-America and anti-Israel sentiment, Ahmadinejad caters to Iran’s conservative Revolutionary Guards, showing little patience for Rouhani who compromised with the U.S. July 14, 2015 nuclear deal, requiring Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program in exchange for sanctions relief. Ahmadinejad was reluctant to criticize the deal.
Knowing the conservative Guardian Council must approve Ahamdinejad’s candidacy, the once flame-throwing Iranian president showed great restraint. “I do not think it [Trump’s April 7 Cruise missile strike on Syria] has a message for Iran. Iran is a powerful country and people like Mr. Trump or the United States administration cannot hurt Iran,” said Ahmadinejad, avoiding any controversy before the Guardian Council certifies him for the ballot. Instead of denouncing Trump, Ahmadinejad said Trump’s Cruise missile strike of Syria’s Shayrat Airbase would have happened whether or not former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would have won the election. What Ahmadinejad didn’t say is that the strike would have far more devastating if Hillary were president. Hillary admitted April 6 she would have taken out all of Syria airfields, not Trump’s pinprick strike.
Giving a hint into his chauvinism, Ahmadinejad expressed doubt about a woman U.S. president. “Those who are the directors must give the role [of president] to a person who can pull it off the best. A woman cannot put up a good war face,” said Ahmadinejad. “A man can do it better. They need to come u p with a figure and say he is very dangerous,” showing his anti-woman bias. “If he were dangerous, he would not have $70 billion of assets. However he has no choice but to play such a role,” Ahmandinejad said, grossly exaggerating Trump’s wealth, perhaps confusing it with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead of calling Trump an “amateur” Feb. 1 like Rouhani, Ahmadinejad refrained from the type of criticism that epitomized his eight years in office. Rouhani worries that compromising on the U.S. nuclear deal will make him look weak next to Ahmadinejad.
Ahamdinejad wants to believe that Trump’s only interested in lining his own pockets as a businessman. Hitting Syria with Cruise missiles threw the liberal U.S. media for a loop, spinning conspiracy theories that Trump only looked to divert attention away from Democrats’ efforts to tie him to Putin to win the Nov. 8, 2016 election. With more information coming out daily about how U.S. intel agencies investigated Trump and his campaign associates, there’s zero evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign or administration did anything wrong. Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees insist—without a shred of evidence—that Trump or his campaign colluded with the Kremlin to win the Nov. 8 election. Now that Trump bombed Syria for using Sarin nerve gas, it’s a conspiracy to divert attention away from unsubstantiated allegations of Russian collusion.
Tossing his hat into the ring, Ahmadinejad has a conservative following, no longer willing to compromise with the U.S. or United Nations on suspending its nuclear program for sanctions relief. While Iran received some $12 billion in cash and more than $150 billion in sanctions relief, Ahmadinejad would have Iran return to the good old days when Iranian militants sacked the U.S. embassy in Tehran Nov. 4, 1979, taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Thirty-eight years since breaking off diplomatic relations, the U.S. is no closer to improving relations with Tehran. Ahmadinejad was rumored to one of the “student militants” that stormed the U.S. embassy. While biting his tongue now, Ahmadinejad would be in Trump’s face, relishing the chance to get a rise out of the U.S. president. When the Guardian Council speaks on April 27, it’s likely Ahmadinejad will get the green light.
Biting his tongue, Ahmadinejad said all the right things announcing his run for president. He and his former Vice President Hamid Baghaei both plan to run if given the chance by the conservative Guradian Council. “The nuclear deal is a legal document and a pact. In the Islamic Republic, the officials and the Supreme Leader have approved of it and declared their commitment to it,” Ahmadinejad said, showing no signs of his old self, antagonistic of anything tied to the U.S. Proving that he’s got the experience needed to take Iran into the future, Ahmadinjad put the Guardian Council on notice that he has the conservative Revolutionary Guard backing. Denying him a shot to run again would sew dissention into Iran’s moderate government, believing that Rouhani does the U.S. bidding. Sounding more reasonable than ever, Ahmadinejad shows he can control his mouth when he wants to.