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Iranian cleric announces presidential candidacy

Image: Mehdi Karrubi
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.Vahid Salemi / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

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.