A supporter wave Iranian flags as she waits to welcome Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after he arrives at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad on February 15, 2018. The Iranian president is on a three-day official visit to India. / AFP / NOAH SEELAM
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Iran's hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the immediate holding of free presidential and parliamentary elections in a letter to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published Thursday.The Guardian Council is a powerful vetting body which oversees all elections in Iran and which barred Ahmadinejad among others from running for president last May.Ahmadinejad remains popular, particularly among poorer segments of society who recall the large-scale welfare schemes he implemented during his 2005-2013 presidency.During the 2009 protests against Ahmadinejad's re-election, dozens of people were killed as the regime deployed militia to back up police.
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