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Iran President Must Follow Leader’s Ideals, Official Says

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Iran’s next elected president must follow the “ideals” of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and avoid questioning the Islamic republic’s foundation, said a senior member of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“In the elections we must make the right pick and choose someone who won’t question the regime,” Khamenei’s representative to the guards, Ali Saeedi, was quoted as saying in a report today by the state-run Mehr news agency.

“The president must follow the ideals and goals of the supreme leader and have values, and not let position or pressure change him,” Saeedi said in a speech yesterday.

The comments seem aimed at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has challenged Khamenei’s authority ever since his 2009 re-election amid widespread protests over voter fraud allegations. They come as Iran prepares for a presidential election in June. Ahmadinejad is constitutionally unable to run for a third consecutive term.

The race takes place amid accelerating inflation and a drop of about 40 percent in the national currency’s value against the dollar as a result of tighter U.S. and European Union sanctions over the country’s nuclear program. The economic pressure has also revived political rivalries inside the Iranian leadership.

Iran’s supreme leader is appointed for life by senior clerics and is the ultimate decision maker for the nation’s affairs, while the president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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