Image: Mehdi Karrubi
Vahid Salemi  /  AP
Iranian pro-reform cleric, Mehdi Karrubi, who is a veteran of the 1979 Islamic revolution, speaks at his press conference, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Oct. 12.
updated 10/12/2008 12:20:19 PM ET 2008-10-12T16:20:19

A moderate Iranian cleric has announced he will challenge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Iran's presidency in 2009.

Mehdi Karrubi is a reformist known for criticizing the president both for his handling of the economy and for needlessly antagonizing the West.

He made his announcement Sunday.

Karrubi is a veteran of the 1979 Islamic revolution, but is a comparatively minor figure, suggesting the bid is largely symbolic.

Karrubi has said he would pursue a trust-building policy with the West over Iran's nuclear activities. Iran has been accused of seeking atomic weapons, a charge it denies.

Iran has set June 12 for the election. Registration is expected in April.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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