Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday registered for next month's presidential election, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

According to the schedule released by Iran's Interior Ministry, the campaign for presidential race will kick off on April 28 and will continue until the end of May 17. When Khamenei approved the re-election in a ceremony with Ahmadinejad in Tehran, the two engaged in an awkward embrace in which Ahmadinejad did not kiss the ayatollah's hand as he had done in the past, but instead sort of nuzzled the leader's shoulder.

Baghaei held the post of vice president for executive affairs under Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad said he remained committed to his "moral promise" to Khamenei of not running for the May 19 election. "My registration here is for the support of my dear brother Mr Baghaei".

Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader since 1989, did not immediately comment on Ahmadinejad's foray into the race. But, he is widely expected to do so, and the reformist camp in Iran has already picked him as its chosen candidate.

Iranian presidents are term-limited, but are legally able to re-seek the office on a staggered rotation.

Ahmadinejad served as president from 2005 until 2013, though his reelection in 2009 was mired in controversy when opponents accusing the government of vote-rigging. The last time a Supreme Leader was elected was upon the death of the founder and first Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.

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"The irony is that by spoiling the conservatives' game and taking away from Raisi's voter-base, Ahmadinejad is in fact aiding Rouhani's re-election", said senior Iran analyst Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group.

"Although it is quite possible that Ahmadinejad will be disqualified by the Guardian Council, this could turn out to be politically messy for them", said Sabet.

Ahmadinejad's chances would improve substantially if he somehow managed to get on the ballot.

But many hardliners in Iran are seeking a tough-talking candidate who can stand up to Donald Trump.

But throughout Mr Ahmadinejad's presidency, Ayatollah Khamenei was wary of him, and his insubordination and relentless self-aggrandisement rankled the hardline clergy.

Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad registered for the upcoming Iranian presidential election on Wednesday.


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