State-controlled media in Iran report that former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, a hard-line conservative who served two terms, has registered to run in Iran's May 19 presidential vote.
Flanked by reporters after filling out registration forms and making a victory sign, Ahmadinejad said: "The Leader advised me not to participate in the elections, and I accepted".
Despite Khamenei's advice, Ahmadinejad had been building a campaign in the months leading to the official registration - visiting provinces, becoming more active online and speaking at more occasions.
"I repeat that I'm devoted to my ethical guarantee (of not operating) and enrollment and my existence is just to aid Mr Baghaie". The Times quotes two Iranian political analysts who say they don't think Ahmadinejad's candidacy will be accepted; such a rejection could bring protests and would deepen a rift between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad that's been traced as far back as 2007.
Also, under his administrations, Iran's worldwide ties were brought to an unprecedented low point and the country's nuclear dossier escalated into a drawn-out diplomatic impasse, resolved peacefully in 2015 under the Rouhani administration. Under Iranian law, he became eligible to run again after four years out of office, but he remains a polarizing figure, even among fellow hardliners.
The Supreme Leader said past year, without naming him, that Ahmadinejad's candidacy is not in the interest of the Iranian people, therefore calling on him not to run.
In shock rejection of supreme leader's advice, Ahmadinejad registers for election.
Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is widely expected to seek re-election after his administration negotiated the atomic accord, though he has not filed or formally declared his candidacy.
While conservatives are anxious that Ahmadinejad or Baghaei's presence might split their votes, allies of Rouhani are also concerned about the attractiveness of populist candidates with nationalist anti-establishment slogans. During his term, the UN Security Council imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.
At least 120 people have submitted their names as candidates for president since registration opened on Tuesday, including several of Mr Ahmadinejad's allies. The Guardian Council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.
Ahmadinejad's decision to contest re-election is believed to be a mighty development in the purview of Syria war for which Saudi Arabia supports US.
"He said he was not telling me either to come or not to come".