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Iran’s Ahmadinejad denounces election decision

TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says a decision by election overseers to disqualify his top aide from an upcoming presidential race is an act of “oppression” and he will take the case to the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

His comments were posted Wednesday on his website the day after the Guardian Council removed Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei from the final candidate list.

The ruling deals a serious blow to Ahmadinejad’s hopes of having a loyalist succeed him. He can’t run in the June 14 ballot due to term limits.

The council also barred ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a centrist who revitalized reformist hopes. It approved eight hopefuls, mostly hard-line candidates associated with the clerical establishment.

Ahmadinejad had clerical conservative backing until he was perceived to challenge Khamenei’s authority in 2011.