Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has said that he does not feel ready to run for president in the 2013 election despite the fact that he is not constitutionally barred from contesting the post, MEHR News reported.
"So far, there is no legal ban, but I am no longer ready for this job," Ayatollah Rafsanjani said in an interview with the Iranian newspaper Arman, which was published on Sunday.
Ayatollah Rafsanjani served as Iran's president for two consecutive terms from 1989 to 1997. Again he ran for president in 2005 but was defeated by the incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in the run-off.
During the interview, he stated that even prior to the 2005 presidential election, he repeatedly insisted that he preferred a "young and energetic person" to take the helm and that he would support him, but the situation developed in such a way that "I was forced to stand as a candidate."
The veteran politician added that he implemented his "plans" during his presidency and there was no need to run for the 2005 election.
He also stated that if a competent person receives a high number of votes and is elected as president next year, he will help him as an advisor.
Asked to explain why he finally decided to run in the presidential election in 2005, he said that he had predicted that the country would experience the current situation after some years.
Ayatollah Rafsanjani was probably referring to high inflation rate in the country and intensified Western-led sanctions against Iran.
He added that a few years ago, during a meeting of the research committee of the Assembly of Experts which lasted about two and a half hours, he elaborated on his views about the "future of the country" and that there is a tape of the talks at the secretariat of the assembly.
However, he stated that he does not want to repeat those things to "create a commotion" in the country.
On the reports saying that he had recently held a meeting with former Majlis speaker Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri about the upcoming presidential election, he said, "We always hold meetings. Usually four or five of the friends stay after the Expediency Council meetings, and we have lunch with each other and hold discussions about the country's issues and their solutions."
Ayatollah Rafsanjani noted that it was in such a meeting that he suggested that Nateq Nouri runs for the election and Nateq Nouri also asked him to do so.
However, Rafsanjani said that he told Nateq Nouri that he is in a better physical condition to contest the post.
"But it was all talk," Ayatollah Rafsanjani noted.
Asked whether he held such talks with former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, he said, "After that event (the unrest that followed the 2009 presidential election), such a situation was created that we do not enter such talks with him."