PRESIDENTIAL elections in Iran next June could be more lively than usual. Mohammad Khatami, a leading reformist who has already served two terms as president (he left office in 2005), is dropping ever clearer hints that he is ready to run against the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is widely expected seek re-election. At a recent international conference on religion, held in Tehran, Iran’s capital, Mr Khatami spoke of his possible candidacy, suggesting that he is ready to toss his turban into the ring.
He is, rightly, wary of saying now that he will certainly run. He faces great difficulties, not least that the country’s reformists are weak. In elections earlier this year they managed to win just 46 of 290 seats in the majlis (parliament) after many candidates were barred from standing. An assortment of conservatives dominate the legislature, and it is they, not the reformists, who have provided most of the opposition to Mr Ahmadinejad. Two leading conservatives, Ali Larijani and Mohammad Qalibaf, have also been touted as contenders for Mr Ahmadinejad’s job.