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Election doubts over Ahmadinejad’s health

Robert Tait
London Guardian [1]
Friday, Oct 24, 2008

He is renowned for his long hours and hectic schedule, but the stress of high office may be taking its toll on the health of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and jeopardising his political future.

Speculation about the hyperactive leader’s physical condition was prompted this week after a speech to the state statistics and planning body on Wednesday was cancelled at the last minute and a cabinet meeting took place without him. A speech to a martyr’s commemoration event was also called off. A senior aide, Amir Mansour Borghei, told journalists that the president was “indisposed”.

That explanation has triggered rumours that Ahmadinejad, 52, is suffering from a long-term illness that may force him to abandon plans to stand for re-election next year.

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Shahab, an Iranian news website, reported that the cancellations were the latest in a series and said the president had previously cancelled engagements because of listlessness caused by low blood pressure. Last May Ahmadinejad pulled out of events in three consecutive weeks – including a rally in Golestan province where he was due to meet voters face to face – because of what aides described as an overcrowded schedule.

Citing “sources close to the government”, Shahab said doctors had advised him to cut his workload to reduce the possibility of illness. There is little sign that he has heeded such advice; Wednesday’s cancellation came after Ahmadinejad had returned to Tehran from a visit to the Asalouyeh oil and gas project in southern Iran.

Full article here [1]