Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Iran leader denounces 'unworthy' election rhetoric

Kenny Thornton | 19 May, 2017, 06:59

Raisi has tried to pick up working-class votes by promising more financial support, as well as playing on his status as a "seyed", or direct descendant of Prophet Mohammed. He asked his supporters to vote for the 56-year-old principlist candidate.

For Rouhani, the choice is simple: "Our nation will announce if it continues on the path of peacefulness or if it wants to choose tension". "We're not opposed, but do not crowd out other people".

Incomes have stagnated or fallen, youth unemployment is 26 per cent, and many people have lost faith in Rouhani.

"However, if the radical contestant of him, Mr. Raisi, wins, it would be a step backward", said Zibakalam.

A lot has been said about the Iranian elections but far too many think-pieces and op-eds are focusing on the differences between the two main candidates without identifying that that real power lies not with the President, but with the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

However, what most do not point out is that Hassan Rouhani, the incumbent president, is no moderate. Rouhani defied religious authorities in the holy city, allowing a concert during his rally.

Hardliners dominating the judiciary and security services have stood in the way, his defenders say. But big Western banks and investors have largely stayed out of Tehran, in part because of lingering US sanctions.

Rouhani responded by calling on voters to keep hardliners away from Iran's delicate diplomatic levers. "Not anymore", he said. Even European banks are afraid of being fined by the U.S. Treasury if they work with Iran. "Rouhani has failed to bring changes".

"I am disappointed with Rouhani".

Secondary sources reporting to OPEC said Iran produced around 3.8 million bpd in April, a 7 percent increase from last year's average. Women comprise more than half the population and have lesser rights than men in areas including inheritance, divorce and child custody.

Rouhani admitted as much at his Tehran rally.

"But he is way ahead of Raisi".

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"I predict a record participation rate".

Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, said Rouhani's warning to the Guards about electoral interference "could be aimed at forcing the establishment to back his second term".

But the emergence of Raisi, backed by the elite, hardline Revolutionary Guards, has raised concern for the future of the nuclear deal and its potential to deliver economic recovery.

In 2009, the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad triggered the biggest protests in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

"You want to limit people's freedom".

But there are questions about the intensity of Rouhani's support as voters weigh his signature achievement - the 2015 deal he struck with six world powers to curb Iran's disputed nuclear program in exchange for an easing of global sanctions.

A run-off would be held a week later if none of the candidates wins a majority, which is at least 50 percent plus one vote.

Trump had until Thursday to extend a sanctions waiver on Iran. Some critics say this is created to protect politically connected domestic businesses.

Iran's top leader has called for high turnout in Friday's presidential election, urging voters to send a message to the United States. It would also mean that the West has a negotiating partner that wants to bring Iran back in from the diplomatic cold and become a responsible member of the worldwide community.

Despite the removal of nuclear-related sanctions in 2016, lingering unilateral USA sanctions that target Iran's record on human rights and terrorism have kept many foreign companies wary of putting stakes in the Iranian market.

On May 19, Iranians go to the polls to either re-elect President Hassan Rouhani to a second term or give one of his reactionary opponents a chance to govern, and in doing so ride the populist wave that seems to have engulfed much of the globe. What we see over the past week is the result of TV debates.

Tehran in turn says Riyadh supports radical Islamist groups. What we're saying is that you should promote economic activities in cyberspace.

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