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U.S. professor wants to be Iran's leader

Feb. 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- An Iranian-born professor at Rutgers University says he hopes to run for president of his homeland.

Hooshang Amirahmadi says his candidacy is an attempt to build bridges between the Islamic republic and the United States, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday.

Amirahmadi, of Rutgers' Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, has lived in the United States for four decades, and said his time in the United States makes him a good candidate.

He's also been chair of his department and director of the University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

"Who can they find better than me as a peacemaker -- someone who understands American language, Iranian language, American culture, Iranian culture and can go back and forth?" he asked.

Iran's Guardian Council, which determines if candidates would uphold Islamic law, rejected the professor's presidential bid in 2005. They have yet to rule on his latest try in the elections that will be held in June.

American analysts see Amirahmadi's chances of success as slim.

Daniel Brumberg, an expert on political reform in the Middle East at Georgetown University, says Amirahmadi's relevance to Iran is "very limited" because of his outsider status.

"There is absolutely no possibility he will be permitted to run," said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Amirahmadi, 63, takes exception to those criticisms, saying that times have changed in Iran.

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