Rouhani says Iran needs "no one's permission" to build missiles

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers the centrepiece of his first term. Here he awards atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi the medal of honour

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers the centrepiece of his first term. Here he awards atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi the medal of honour

"Once again, I am here for Iran, for Islam, for freedom and for more stability in this country", he told reporters on Friday as he registered his candidacy. He added that the decision to attack Syria was made by people behind the scenes in the US, strongly implying that the USA presidency is decided behind closed doors. Azam Talaghani, a former MP and the daughter of a prominent revolutionary ayatollah, is among the women who have put their names on the list to test whether the authorities would allow women to run.

In his interview, Ahmadinejad ruled out that the recent United States missile strike on Syria was a message to Iran.

"Iran is a powerful country and people like Mr. Trump or the United States administration can not hurt Iran", Ahmadinejad said in an interview with The Associated Press (AP).

"If he were unsafe, he would not have $70 billion of assets", said Ahmadinejad. "However he has no choice but to play such a role", said Ahmadinejad.

It was unclear how he arrived at that dollar figure.

Many Iranians have grown impatient with the slow rate of improvement in their economic fortunes since global financial and trade sanctions were lifted after Iran curbed its disputed nuclear activity under its deal with six world powers.

Although it is unlikely that an incumbent would be disqualified after having previously passed the vetting process, hope for Rouhani's ouster has presumably been bolstered by critical commentary that has emerged from the supreme leader's office in recent months, particularly focused on the slow pace of economic recovery following the nuclear deal.

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Rouhani has spent weeks defending his economic record, pushing back against critics who argue that ordinary people are yet to feel any benefits from the nuclear deal and subsequent lifting of sanctions.

The Islamic Republic says its military power poses no threat to other countries and is merely based on the doctrine of deterrence.

Every president since the early 1980s has won a second term, and Rouhani has done much to maintain his alliance of moderates and reformists - stabilising the economy and signing a landmark nuclear deal with world powers that ended many sanctions and promised a fresh start with the global community. Both parties have represented it in such a way as if it can solve all the issues of human history.

Ahmadinejad's candidacy has left many inside Iran scratching their heads.

Ahmadinejad's registration defied advice by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that he not run, apparently out of fear that he would prove to be an excessively divisive figure.

However, Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that the Supreme Leader never barred him from rerunning for the presidency.