In this Saturday, May 11, 2013 photo, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks with journalists, during a press conference after registering his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election, at the election headquarters of the interior ministry, in Tehran, Iran. A hardline news website says Iran's election overseers have rejected a pair of powerful and divisive figures from running in next month's presidential election. says Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who still wields enormous influence, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close confident of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been barred by the Guardian Council.

Ebrahim Noroozi, Associated Press - Ap

Report: Rafsanjani blasts Iran's rulers

  • Associated Press
  • May 23, 2013 - 4:47 AM

TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian pro-reform website is reporting that former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has strongly criticized the policies of the country's ruling clerical establishment, days after a constitutional watchdog disqualified him from running in the June 14 elections.

"I think it is not possible to run the country worse than this," quoted him as saying late Wednesday in reaction to his Tuesday disqualification by the hard-line Guardian Council.

Rafsanjani has not made any direct public statements since the decision. The quote was not carried on his official website, and the report could not independently verified.

Rafsanjani, a centrist, had revitalized reformist hopes. His campaign manager says he will not protest the disqualification.

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