‘‘Your efforts had aimed at preventing us from becoming nuclear, but we did,’’ Ahmadinejad told the rally while also claiming Iran plans to put an advanced satellite into stationary orbit as part of the country’s next aerospace advancement.
Earlier this month, Iran claimed it successfully sent a monkey into space and back to earth — although doubts were raised by Iranian photos apparently showing two different animals in before-and-after images.
Even as the questions swirled, Ahmadinejad diverted attention by volunteering to be the country’s first astronaut aboard an Iranian-launched rocket if the space program ever reaches that point.
‘‘Ahmadinejad is politically wounded, and nothing that’s wounded is usually quiet,’’ said Dubai-based security analyst Theodore Karasik.
There was a time after his 2005 election when he was a favored son.
Khamenei appeared to create a seamless bond between the theocracy and Ahmadinejad presidency — a noticeable change from the suspicion clerics had toward his reformist predecessor Mohammad Khatami.
Ahmadinejad, however, seemed uneasy with the limits of his office, which has sway over many economic and social affairs but not strategic issues such as foreign policy, intelligence or the nuclear program. His attempts to grab more power were swiftly snuffed out by Khamenei, leaving the president a target for payback from powerful groups controlled by the ruling clerics such as the judiciary and Revolutionary Guard.
In further signs of tensions, Larijani was stopped from delivering a revolution anniversary speech Sunday by chanting protesters in the seminary city of Qom, official news agency IRNA reported. In Tehran, meanwhile, the semiofficial Mehr news agency said some demonstrators protested against Ahmadinejad when he joined the rally.
It will be months before Iran’s ruling clerics vet and approve the presidential candidates. But all expectations point to a slate with no wild cards or strong reformists. The goal is to avoid any risks of a repeat of the bloody aftermath from the 2009 vote.
Among the perceived front-runners is Ahmadinejad’s nemesis, the parliament speaker Larijani. Others include former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, prominent lawmaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf and ex-Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei.
‘‘There may be lots of political fighting and mudslinging to come despite Khamenei’s effort to keep it quiet,’’ said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, a Syracuse University professor who follows Iranian affairs. ‘‘Then, after the election, no one expects Ahmadinejad to fade away. He'll be a force from the outside looking in.’’
Murphy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.