> Known for fierce rhetoric aimed at the U.S. and Israel, not to mention a disputed nuclear program and persistent questioning of the Holocaust, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad divided world opinion during his eight years as president. Now there's talk he could be planning a comeback, following a handful of appearances in recent week.
Reuters' senior correspondent, Babak Dehghanpisheh in Beirut.>> It's a little over a year out from the presidential elections in Iran and the conservative camp doesn't really have a candidate that they can put forward at the moment. Ahmadinejad, apparently, seems to think that is a good opportunity for him to re-enter the political landscape.
>> Ahmadinejad lost the 2013 presidential election to the more moderate Hassan Rouhani. He struck a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. But also angered many hardliners with his reformist views>> While Ahmadinejad hasn't made any announcement about his political future, he has many supporters who praise his defense of traditional views and criticism of the west.
>> These public appearances that Ahmadinejad had made recently, there were crowds of hundreds and on occasion, thousands of people who showed up to see him. There's been support expressed online with people posting, setting up websites and even making postings on social media of supporting him.>> Whoever runs next year, observers say the biggest issue will likely be the economy.
Iranians have high hopes that the nuclear deal will bring economic relief after years of sanctions. If Rouhani is unable to deliver on those promises, it could allow Ahmadinejad to step in. But before he can even run, he'll need the nod of approval from supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.