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    Iranian reformist announces candidacy, challenges Ahmadinejad

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    12 Ekim 2008 - 13:16Son Güncelleme : 12 Ekim 2008 - 13:28

    Mehdi Karroubi, the leader of Iran's National Confidence reformist party, announced at a press conference on Sunday his candidacy for the 2009 Iranian presidential race. (UPDATED)

    Former parliamentary speaker Karoubi told a news conference he would be a candidate in the June 2009 vote, challenging conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is widely expected to seek a second four-year term.

    Karoubli, a cleric, is the first major political figure to declare his candidacy.   

    "After a lot of negotiations and consultations I announce my readiness to compete in the election," the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.

    Karrubi is a reformist known for criticizing the president both for his handling of the economy and for needlessly antagonizing the West.

    He is a veteran of the 1979 Islamic revolution, but is a comparatively minor figure, suggesting the bid is largely symbolic.

    Karrubi has said he would pursue a trust-building policy with the West over Iran’s nuclear activities. Iran has been accused of seeking atomic weapons, a charge it denies.

    Iran has set June 12 for the election. Registration is expected in April.

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