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Ahmadinejad, polarizing ex-president of Iran, is barred from running again

FILE- In this April 15, 2017, file photo, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gives an interview to The Associated Press at his office in Tehran, Iran. Iranian state TV said Thursday, April 20, that the body charged with vetting candidates has disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month's presidential election. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

TEHRAN — A council that vets Iran’s political candidates has disqualified former two-term president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with hundreds of others, from the presidential election next month.

No official reason was given for the disqualifications in the May 19 election, which were announced on state television Thursday night by an election official, Ali Asghar Ahmadi.

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While Ahmadinejad’s disqualification was not unexpected, the timing of the announcement — just around midnight, two days before what had been the scheduled unveiling of the final list of candidates — was unusual.

Ahmadinejad is a polarizing figure known for vitriolic diatribes against the United States and Israel, denying the Holocaust and winning his second term in a suspiciously lopsided vote in 2009.

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According to the state television announcement, a total of six candidates will be competing — all men — and include the incumbent, President Hassan Rouhani.

Under law, presidents cannot serve more than two consecutive four-year terms.

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