- (Photo: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have to answer to charges stemming from an election violation. He was seen accompanying a presidential nominee when he went to register to vote, which is against the country's election law.
Reports from Iran indicate that Ahmadinejad was seen with presidential hopeful Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie over the weekend while he was registering at the Interior Ministry. Photographs that were published in Iranian media showed them embracing one another, making peace signs and shaking hands.
Iran's electoral law forbids the use of state resources on behalf of or against any candidate, and bans individuals from supporting candidates in an official capacity.
Abbas Ali Kadkhodai, a spokesman for the Guardian Council a body of clerics and jurists that reviews all candidates before any elections, explained that the council's supervisory board would take a closer look to see if any laws were broken.
The board unanimously agreed that the "actions of the president in introducing an individual as an election candidate constituted a violation and were criminal," according to Khabaronline, an Iranian news site.
"We reported the facts to the judiciary," Kadkhodai said.
With the attention on Mashaie, rumors are starting to pick up attention over whether or not the election prospects have been dimmed over this recent development. Should the Guardian Council's inquiry find any infractions of the law, it might force Mashaie to drop out of the race.
If found guilty of election crimes, Amadinejad's charges could include up to six months in prison or 74 lashes to be carried out in public.
Mashaie has been cautiously watched by Iran's ultra-conservative base, who claims he is a pro-Israel politician who hopes to undermine the country's belief system.
The election takes place on June 14 and current favorites for a victory are the men who have aligned themselves with the Ayatollah. Those candidates include Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf and former police chief Ali Akbar Velayati.