Ali Nikzad

Ali Nikzad, the Minister of Transportation and Urban Development in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration, has announced his intention to run in the presidential election.

The Fars news agency reported on Nikzad’s announcement, adding that he has not responded to the question of which group is supporting his candidacy.

The Tasneem website has quoted a conservative MP saying Nikzad has taken on the candidacy at the recommendation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Supporters of Ayatollah Khamenei and the conservative factions of the establishment claim Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is part of a “deviant movement” centered around Esfandiar Mashai. They believe this group is planning to retain the presidency after Ahmadinejad’s term ends in June 2013.

The so called “deviant group” is said to be conspiring to stay in power, and at times the administration has been accused of using its powers to stack the deck in favour of a candidate of its own choosing.

Nikzad is the first figure close to Ahmadinejad who has publicly announced that he is running in the election.