‘Tomorrow Is Too Late’: Ahmadinejad Launches Petition For Candidacy
The website ahmadinejad1400.com, set up by supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had nearly 193,500 signatures by Friday morning calling on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to add the former president to the seven candidates standing in the June 18 presidential election.
Some social media users claimed the website was blocked by the authorities Thursday but can still be accessed in Iran through VPNs and anti-filtering software. Ahmadinejad's own website, Dolat-e Bahar, has been functioning on and off in the past week, perhaps as a result of cyberattacks. But Ahmadinejad’s supporters have been promoting the petition on social media platforms, including the Telegram account Dolat-e Bahar, which has 420,000 subscribers.
As in 2017, Ahmadinejad was not included in the list of seven candidates drawn up by the constitutional watchdog the Guardian Council, after around 600 registered to stand in the presidential election. The council spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei said June 1 that the council would not change its decisions unless Khamenei intervened. But the leader backed the council on May 27 and in a televised speech on Friday gave no indication of reconsidering.
In a series of tweets Thursday morning, Dolat-e Bahar claimed that "a corrupt band of infiltrators" in intelligence bodies had been targeting pro-Ahmadinejad media activists and supporters in recent days. "Numerous reports indicate that some of them have been summoned and arrested", one said. Other tweets claimed that the arrested activists were being held secretly and put under pressure to make "false confessions" that could convict them in courts.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Ahmadinejad threatened to reveal damaging secrets about “corrupt infiltrators…[whose] anti-revolutionary activities…[had] remained hidden until now but with the help of God” would “soon will be revealed to the Iranian nation.”
On Sunday Ahmadinejad criticized Iranian intelligence services for failing to protect vital secrets and instead using resources to intervene in domestic affairs. He said an intelligence ministry statement of May 31 – which said his claims and conspiracy theories were "untrue and meant to cause confusion in the minds of the public" – aimed to discredit him because he had "criticized the destructive role of the said corrupt band.”
Ahmadinejad has said he will not vote in the election but has also continued appeals to Khamenei to reinstate him by decree. He told supporters Wednesday [June 2] at a Shiite shrine in Tehran Bazaar: "I registered and the Guardian Council said no. We should wait now for the judgement of the Leader. Only he can manage the Guardian Council, not anyone else."
Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, Ahmadinejad's adviser, tweeted Wednesday that only Ahmadinejad could ensure “maximal participation of the nation” and a successful election: "Circumstances in the country require all the people, particularly revolutionaries including war veterans, families of martyrs, the Guards and Basijis to support the Leader of the Revolution in getting involved in the matter of vetting and reinstating Dr. Ahmadinejad. Tomorrow is too late.”