The Coordinating Council of Conservatives, chaired by Nategh-Nuri, then selected Larijani as the final candidate in a bid to preempt a splitting of the conservative vote, asking other conservative leadership. Of note, Nategh-Nuri was seriously opposed to Ahmadinejad’s decision to run for office in 2005.
Commenting on a meeting with Ahmadinejad back then, Nategh-Nuri has publicly stated, “When Ahmadinejad explained his agenda for the presidency, I told him, ‘I listened to you carefully, but either didn’t understand anything, or you spoke beyond my knowledge [with sarcasm].’” Prior to the selection of Larijani as its final candidate, Ahmadinejad had threatened the Coordination Council of Conservatives that he would step forward if it didn’t select him as its man. Indeed, Ahmadinejad won the election against all odds.
In the disputed 2009 presidential election, Ahmadinejad managed to retain his position with the full support of the conservative camp. During the televised presidential debates, Ahmadinejad accused Nategh-Nuri’s sons of corruption on the air. None of Nategh-Nuri’s old friends in the conservative camp defended him, contributing to his subsequent absence in the meetings of the Combatant Clergy Association, an important clerical party inside the conservative camp. Overall, Nategh-Nuri did not speak out much under Ahmadinejad, though he broke his silence on a few occasions and attacked Ahmadinejad for what he referred to as mismanagement.
After Ahmadinejad left office, Nategh-Nuri demanded that the former president be put on trial. Without using any names, he said, “A person assumed a responsibility in the country and squandered the country’s money however he wanted; I was told that during his tenure, it was not right to stop him, and now that he is gone, I’m told that it is not fair to give him trouble. So how and when do we make a decision to get people’s money back?”