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Rafsanjani throws curve into Iranian elections

May 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM

TEHRAN, May 11 (UPI) -- The front-runners for the upcoming Iranian presidential election include a former president and a top aide to the current leader, election officials said.

Former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani formally registered Saturday for the June election as did Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, aide to outgoing incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad is not allowed to run for a third term under the terms of Iran's constitution, the BBC said.

Rafsanjani, 78, and Mashaei both turned in their paperwork within minutes of Saturday's deadline.

The Washington Post said their registration altered the field for candidates, which had previously been made up of conservative allies of supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Rafsanjani is likely to have the support of Iranian reformists while Mashaei will be a favorite among Ahmadinejad's camp.

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