Hashemitaba calls on Iranians to vote for Rouhani

A reformist candidate in Iran's presidential election has pulled out to smooth the path for the moderate incumbent, Hassan Rouhani.

Here's everything you need to know about the vote. The threat of another populist and anti-Western administration in Iran is real and unsafe, in light of the economic hardship people are now facing.

This time around, establishment conservative hardliners who want to unseat Rouhani are mainly placing their trust in Ebrahim Raisi, a jurist and Shiite cleric who studied at the feet of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The position of president, which doesn't have almost as much power as Supreme Leader, is a flawless stepping stone. "Don't go to the rural areas and lie to people", Rouhani was quoted by the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) as saying.

The crucial test is whether Trump continues to waive the sanctions suspended under the nuclear deal, which he must sign off over the next two months. Iran's hard-line conservatives are widely known as "principlists".

How does the election work?

Both stood in the 2009 election that triggered mass protests over allegations of vote-rigging.

"A tree that has not born any fruit in four years will not yield anything positive in the future", said Tehran mayor and presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf in the final debate on Friday. He is a cleric who represents the moderate or reform wing of Iranian politics. His run for re-election is viewed as a referendum of sorts on the nuclear deal, which has yielded mixed economic results for Iranians. "He failed to jumpstart the economy by spending more on development projects", said Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, an economics professor at Virginia Tech in the United States who blogs about the Iranian economy.

What are the issues?

The agreement has brought a string of billion dollar deals with Western firms for airplanes and oil exploration in Iran. Obviously, U.S. President Donald Trump's repeated denunciations of the Iran nuclear deal could add fuel to charges by hard-liners that Mr. Rouhani is too close to the West.

Authors' note: As always, given the difficulties of surveying people in Iran, especially from afar, the results of the surveys cited should be interpreted with caution. In 2016, GDP growth was 4.5%, recovering to 2014 levels after it plummeted to 0.4% in 2015. With Qalibaf dropping out, there are now five candidates contesting, though others may choose to drop out in the coming days. At one point, the Iranian rial fell by up to 80%, the price of basic goods skyrocketed and the economy suffered a period of hyperinflation. Now the Obama-era approach, largely seen in the region as tilting toward Iran, is over, and the mullahs are recalibrating.

"Khamenei is alarmed at accusations by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has accused Iran of being the world's main sponsor of terror".

Still, the stars seem to point to a second term. "I will dedicate all my abilities to support Rouhani" in Friday's election, Jahangiri said in a statement.

The others are First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri at 3%, former Culture Minister Mostafa Mirsalim at 3%, and former Mines and Industries Minister Mostafa Hashemi-Taba at 2%.

  • Leroy Wright