TEHRAN, Iran — For eight years, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has played the role of global provocateur-in-chief: questioning the Holocaust, saying Israel should be erased from the map and painting UN resolutions as worthless. His provocative style grated inside Iran as well — angering the country’s supreme leader to the point of warning the presidency could be abolished.
Now, a race is beginning to choose his successor and it looks like an anti-Ahmadinejad referendum is shaping up. Candidate registration starts Tuesday for the June 14 vote.
Leading candidates assert that they will be responsible stewards, unlike the firebrand Ahmadinejad, who cannot run again because he is limited to two terms. One criticized Ahmadinejad for “controversial but useless” statements. Others even say the country should have a less hostile relationship with the United States.
Comments from the presumed front-runners lean toward less bombast and more diplomacy. They are apparently backed by…
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