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The high stakes of Iran's presidential election

The high stakes of Iran's presidential election

It said the extension of deadline for voting has been made at the behest of Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.

Nonetheless, the president could influence the selection process for the next supreme leader if Mr. Khamenei, said to be in ill health, were to pass away within the next four years.If re-elected, President Rouhani will "exert more effort to rid his country of the remaining sanctions", but the rivalry between conservative principlists and reformists will intensify, says Ali Hashem, a columnist for Al Monitor. Despite the fact that every Iranian president in the post-Khomeini period has served two terms, why is Rouhani in a precarious position?

A protégé of Khamenei, Raisi focussed his campaign on the economy, visiting rural areas and villages, promising housing, jobs and more welfare benefits for the poor.

The rallies were largely peaceful even as Rouhani supporters faced off against smaller crowds supporting his main rival, hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, though police rushed reinforcements to break up Rouhani rallies that grew large enough to block traffic.

Under the motto "Where's My Vote?" demonstrators filled the streets of Tehran and elsewhere and became involved in increasingly violent exchanges with authorities. Raisi would play the same subservient role if he wins.

Four candidates remain in the race. And both appear committed to Iran's aggressive bid for hegemony in the Middle East by other means, including military interventions in Iraq and Syria, support for rebels in Yemen and harassment of USA ships in the Persian Gulf.

Surprisingly, Islam. "Candidates have seemingly concluded that Islamic ideology has lost its power as a driving factor among voters and is therefore not worth addressing", wrote Mehdi Khalaji, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who is Shiite theologian by training.

Under former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "the sanctions really hurt us". It is all the more interesting to note both of their relatively sociopolitically liberal messaging and their unwillingness to present a conservative cultural agenda in contrast to previous elections-a growing trend in Iranian politics. He called for a large turnout, saying "the country is in the hands of all people".

Rouhani, known for decades as a mild-mannered establishment insider rather than a gung-ho reformer, has taken on the mantle of the reform camp in recent weeks, with fiery campaign speeches that attacked the human rights records of his opponents.

U.S. admiral: N. Korea's actions 'recipe for disaster'
The previous conservative government refused to engage with Pyongyang until it abandoned its nuclear program. Moon has said that he would meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, if the circumstances were right.

"If you want [Iran to become] Syria or Iraq, vote for Raisi".

"It's the reason why I have [waited] about one hour in this line, in this hot weather".

Smearing Rouhani as a corrupt and "pro-capitalist" elite also parallels 2005, when Ahmadinejad was able to successfully link corruption with economic mismanagement and popular disdain of ruling reformist-moderate politicians, particularly Rafsanjani.

In the 1980s he helped sentence thousands of political prisoners to death. I like his detente policy with the world.

A supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi hides her face using a poster of him during an election rally in Tehran, Iran, in 2009.

For conservatives, the election represents a chance to restore the values of the 1979 revolution, which requires elected officials to be subordinate to the Shi'ite Muslim clergy and supreme leader. "It is rather an expression of widespread and fearless civil disobedience against autocracy ... it is a united conscious move of rejection of the theocratic regime of the supreme religious leadership and for the building of a new Iran free from tyranny". "He will protect our Islamic identity", said Mehran Fardoust, 36, a shop keeper near the Imam Reza Shrine in the holy city of Mashhad, Raisi's home town.

Khamenei's public statements and private instructions can be completely contradictory.

Rouhani was a key architect of the 2015 nuclear deal with the USA, the European Union and other partners.

The candidates who have been approved and shortlisted are all from different factions of the ruling regime and thus the overall outcome of the election is a foregone conclusion - a candidate totally committed to continuing the same strategic direction of the theocratic regime will be appointed.


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