Iran's Former Prez Mulls Run Against Ahmadinejad
Moderate Khatami, battered by conservatives, still has large following
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2008 1:34 PM CST
In this Oct. 13, 2008, photo, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami delivers a speech in the "Conference on Religion in the Modern World" in Tehran.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Mohammad Khatami is considering a run to reclaim the Iranian presidency, the Economist reports. Frustrated with successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s financial mismanagement and controversial rhetoric, moderate Iranians have swamped Khatami with entreaties to run. Although Khatami ultimately failed to deliver reform, his 1997-2005 tenure is remembered fondly for relaxed restrictions on everyday life and presenting a likable leader to the world.

Inflation stands at 31% a year, up from 11% when Khatami left office. Unemployment, estimated at 6%, will rise as falling oil prices sap government revenue. Residents of large and medium-sized cities prefer Khatami 2-to-1. But Ahamadinejad remains popular with poorer Iranians, and the Khatami-loathing conservative establishment may still rally around the controversial incumbent.