Ahmadinejad Could Face 74 Lashes for Breaking Rules

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 12 2013 1:06 PM

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Could Face 74 Lashes for Breaking Election Rules

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) andEsfandiar Rahim Mashaei (L) wave during their press conference after Mashaie registered his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election

Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

He may be president but that doesn’t mean he’s exempt from Iran’s justice system. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could face 74 lashes or six months behind bars if he is convicted of breaking election rules. On Sunday, the Guardian Council, Iran’s constitutional watchdog, said it will seek possible charges against Ahmadinejad for accompanying his chief adviser to register for elections the previous day, reports the Associated Press. Ahmadinejad isn’t running in the June 14 presidential election because he isn’t allowed to seek a third term. But he has tried to push his protégé, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, as his natural successor.

Mashaei was one of the two potential candidates who shook up the presidential race Saturday, when former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also said he would throw his name in the ring. Until Saturday, it was widely believed the election “would be fought between conservative candidates loyal to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,” reports the Washington Post.

Anyone interested in running in the election was required to sign up by Saturday afternoon. More than 400 people have expressed interest, but the vast majority will be disqualified, explains the Los Angeles Times. The Guardian Council, which is made up of senior clerics and jurists, vets candidates and determines who is qualified to run. The final ballot will likely have fewer than six candidates.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.