DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may face charges for accompanying his former chief of staff to register for June’s presidential vote, the country’s electoral watchdog said.
Iran’s electoral law forbids the use of state resources on behalf of or against any candidate, and bans individuals from supporting candidates in an official capacity.
Abbas Ali Kadkhodai, a spokesman for the Guardian Council, said the council’s supervisory board unanimously agreed “the... actions of the president in introducing an individual as an election candidate constituted a violation and were criminal,” according to Khabaronline, an Iranian news site.
“We reported the facts to the judiciary,” Kadkhodai said.
The Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists, vets all candidates for elections.
Ahmadinejad is banned on constitutional grounds from running in the June 14 presidential poll, the first since 2009, when protests erupted over his disputed win against reformist rivals.
He accompanied Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie on Saturday to register at the Interior Ministry. Photographs in the Iranian media showed them gripping hands and making peace signs.
According to the Mehr news agency, Kadkhodai said election violations could affect the Guardian Council’s vetting process, suggesting Mashaie’s candidacy could be under threat.
Since the 2009 ballot, Ahmadinejad has fallen foul of Iran’s ruling conservatives, who believe he is trying to maintain influence via a Mashaie presidency.
Mashaie, who is still part of Ahmadinejad’s entourage, is viewed with suspicion by conservatives who accuse him of leading a “deviant current” that seeks to sideline clerical power in favor of a more nationalistic doctrine.
He said the president had accompanied him on “a day off” from work.
Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by John Stonestreet