TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian news websites have boosted speculation that election overseers have barred two prominent but divisive figures from next month’s presidential ballot.
The hardline website Tasnimnews.com says the Guardian Council has rejected former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close confidant of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The semiofficial Mehr news agency carried the same report.
The reports are not official. The announcement on the list for the June 14 election is expected later Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tasnimnews.com says eight candidates have been approved to run, most of them hardliners loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rafsanjani has been backed by reformists, and Mashaei has been widely denounced by hardliners because of Ahmadinejad’s feuds with ruling clerics.
The Guardian Council vets all election hopefuls.