Former Iranian president Akbar Rafsanjani on Wednesday strongly criticized the leadership of his country, following his disqualification as presidential candidate this week.

“I don’t think the country could have been run worse, even if it had been planned in advance,” the 78-year-old Rafsanjani reportedly told members of his campaign team.

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“I don’t want to get stoop to their propaganda and attacks but ignorance is troubling. Don’t they understand what they’re doing.”

According to Reuters, the comments were intended to encourage divisions between Iran’s clerical rulers and opposition groups.

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