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Ahmadinejad to Quit Politics in 2013

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells German newspaper he will end his political career when his second term ends next year.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/17/2012, 5:40 AM

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Reuters

A German newspaper reported on Saturday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will end his political career when his second term ends next year.

Ahmadinejad was quoted as having said in an interview with with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper that he plans to return to academia. He told the newspaper that though he might engage in political activity at a university, "I will not found any political party or group."

Ahmadinejad can't run in Iran's June 2013 elections because of term limits. He was asked whether, like Russia's Vladimir Putin, he envisions returning to the presidency at a later date, and replied, "No, eight years are enough."

Ahmadinejad last year lost a power struggle with Iran's ruling system, which had helped him rise from Tehran's city hall to the presidency.

The Iranian president has found his fortunes sinking over the past year, due to a falling out with his former mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Ahmadinejad's faction was dealt a severe blow in recent parliamentary elections by Islamic hardliners loyal to Khamenei, and has found himself grilled by parliament over his conduct and policies.

In addition to allegations that billions of precious oil dollars were illegally diverted, Ahmadinejad has faced intense criticism over his handling of Iran's economy and foreign policy during its nuclear showdown with the West.

As his country prepares for nuclear talks with the six major world powers in Moscow, last week Ahmadinejad accused the world powers of looking for ways to “find excuses and to waste time” in talks over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

“Iran is ready to pursue negotiations in Moscow, and even in Beijing, and has made good proposals,” Ahmadinejad said in the Chinese capital.

“But taking into account that, after a meeting in Baghdad and, in conformity with what was agreed, our efforts to arrange a meeting between the deputies of Ashton and the deputy of (Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili) have not been successful, we consider that the West is looking for excuses to waste time,” he added.