Khatami throws his hat in the ring

The Iranian elections just got a whole lot more interesting. Mohammed Khatami, the reformist former president, has announced that he’ll be challening Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June. Nasser Karimi for the AP: Khatami’s decision to run against Ahmadinejad could significantly shake up Iran’s politics, appealing to citizens disillusioned by the country’s failing economy and Ahmadinejad’s staunch ...

588700_090208_khatami5.jpg
588700_090208_khatami5.jpg

The Iranian elections just got a whole lot more interesting. Mohammed Khatami, the reformist former president, has announced that he'll be challening Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June. Nasser Karimi for the AP:

Khatami's decision to run against Ahmadinejad could significantly shake up Iran's politics, appealing to citizens disillusioned by the country's failing economy and Ahmadinejad's staunch anti-U.S. foreign policy.

The Iranian elections just got a whole lot more interesting. Mohammed Khatami, the reformist former president, has announced that he’ll be challening Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June. Nasser Karimi for the AP:

Khatami’s decision to run against Ahmadinejad could significantly shake up Iran’s politics, appealing to citizens disillusioned by the country’s failing economy and Ahmadinejad’s staunch anti-U.S. foreign policy.

What remains to be seen is to what extent Khatami’s entry into the race will energize young Iranians — especially in Tehran — who have become deeply disillusioned with politics. And, of course, Ahmadinejad and his hardline allies will probably stop at nothing to win. As the LA Times notes, the president has the Interior Ministry firmly under his thumb, and Khatami is not known as a fighter.

Another big question now: How will Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei play it? In ideology and temperament, he’s much closer to Ahmadinejad, who he supported in 2005. But Khamenei’s expressed some displeasure with the incumbent over the past year and he certainly doesn’t want to be associated with the lousy Iranian economy. Maybe he’ll decide to sit this one out?

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

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