The stagnation, which has prompted criticism from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has boosted Iran's conservatives, who also point to the aggressive rhetoric from US President Donald Trump as a sign that Rouhani's diplomatic efforts have failed.
In total, 1,636 people registered, including 137 women.
He said an "unprecedented" $20 billion worth of new projects would be announced next week, which would also see gas production at the South Pars field surpass that of Qatar - which shares the field - for the first time.
Trump had criticized the nuclear deal during his election and had vowed to put an end to Iran's missile program. "People will vote for him to prevent a hardliner from winning the election", said political analyst Saeed Leylaz.
When asked about the Supreme Leader's injunction, Ahmadinejad noted: "This was only an advice, not an order".
After a term out of office, Ahmadinejad is now permitted to stand again under Iran's constitution, but he still needs the approval of the 12-member Guardian Council which vets candidates, six members of which are appointed by Khamenei. Iran's economy suffered under heavy worldwide sanctions during his administration because of Western suspicions that Tehran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.
The five-day registration for the presidential election opened on April 11.
"The production capacity of industrial and defense organizations has increased by 148% and the exports of defense sector by 227 percent...", the president said, comparing the figures to those in 2013 when he took office. It has never allowed a woman to run for president and routinely rejects candidates calling for dramatic reform.
Khamenei and his hardline allies have strongly criticized the slow pace of economic revival since the lifting of sanctions past year, part of the nuclear deal with six major powers whereby Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program. The benefits have yet to trickle down to the average Iranian, though, fueling some discontent.
Incumbent President Hasan Fereidun Rouhani is favored to win re-election, and an Ahmadinejad candidacy would split the hardline vote, giving the advantage to President Rouhani.
Influential Shi'ite cleric Ebrahim Raisi, the custodian of a powerful organisation in charge of Iran's holiest shrine, appears to be the leading hardline candidate. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. In fact, however, it was probable that he could give way to his political colleague, former Vice-President Hamid Baghaee, to run on his platform, although there seems little likelihood that the Ahmadinejad camp could win.