Iran’s president has run afoul of the law and may have to pay dearly for his offense.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad openly endorsed the candidacy of his top adviser, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, and accompanied the candidate as he registered his nomination on Saturday for the June 14 presidential vote.
Iran’s constitution bans a sitting president from campaigning for or supporting a presidential candidate. Ahmadinejad could face 74 lashes if punished to the full extent of the law.
“We discussed this at a meeting of the committee that supervises elections and everyone unanimously agreed the president had committed a crime,” said Abasali Kadkhodaie, a spokesman for the Guardian Council, a committee of powerful clerics that vets presidential candidates and acts as a constitutional watchdog, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Analysts have dismissed the possibility of Ahmadinejad actually being punished for his transgression, however.
“There will be no lashing; the news is hyped and ridiculous,” Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh, the director of the Centre for Arab & Iranian Studies in London, told Al Arabiya English on Monday.
“Yes, there would be a punishment if this were in a country that runs by law and order, with a strong judiciary that ensures laws and punishments are followed through.
“But in Iran, most people break the rules, from the Ayatollah to the man on the street,” Nourizadeh said.