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Iran Election: Mousavi Looms Over Vote Years After Detention

Iran Election: Mousavi Looms Over Vote Years After Detention

As Iran prepares to vote in its twelfth presidential election, Hassan Rouhani, the current incumbent, is facing decisive opposition to his reelection bid.

Voting was extended by at least five hours to 11 p.m. (1830 GMT) because many people were still waiting in line, state television reported.

According to the last poll conducted by Ippo group, Rohani is credited with 60 percent of the vote but Raisi can count on the renouncement of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, conservative candidate and actual mayor of Teheran to fill the gap and thereby avoid a Rohani victory in the first round.

In addition to the unprecedented attacks on Raisi, Rouhani also used the speech to attack the heads of unelected bodies who are appointed to their positions by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But Mr Rouhani is widely seen as having overpromised when he sold the nuclear deal, and many have been disappointed with the economic benefits that flowed from lifting anti-nuclear sanctions.

"Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "how the elections in Iran will be taking place is exclusively within the competence of the Iranian people".

In addition, as nearly all the political oppositions had been wiped out since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, even if they have differences in their programs, the presidential candidates are all different branches of the same tree.

There are also two other minor candidates, Mostafa Mir-Salim, who represent the Islamic Coalition Party, a conservative political party that favors economic liberalism and Mostafa Hashemitaba, a reformist candidate close to the former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

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After casting his ballot, Rouhani said whomever the voters elect as president should receive all of the nation's support. Raisi has even been discussed as a possible successor to him, though Khamenei has stopped short of endorsing anyone.

The truth is more complex: Elections in Iran are hugely significant in shaping Tehran's foreign and domestic policy.

"We have no other way, but to endear a tolerant space, to accept each other's existence, to live up with diverse opinions and tastes, then to grow up as a descent mother, father or politician for the good of next generation", Taherkhani, the master's graduate of social science from Tehran's Azad Markazi University, argued. One of them is the current President Hassan Rouhani.

Speaking on May 8, Rohani said voters did not want someone who in the four decades since Iran's 1979 revolution has only known how to "execute and jail", adding that the era of extremists is over.

At home, he faces a conservative backlash that condemns his opening to the West and (implicitly) his nuclear deal.

The presidential election is held on a Friday across the country. The council has never allowed a woman to run for president and routinely rejects candidates calling for dramatic reform, stifling change while ensuring the continuation of Iran's Shiite Islamic governance.

Raisi's history may deter some voters - the 56-year-old cleric was a member of the so-called "Death Commission", which presided over the summary executions of thousands of political prisoners in the summer of 1988. Raisi accused Rouhani of "economic elitism, mismanagement, yielding to Western pressure, and corruption". Raisi is also the custodian of the Imam Reza shrine in Mashad, the most visited and important holy site in Iran, and has strong base of support among rural, religious, poor and hardline clerics. "The numbers are looking better. but the voters aren't feeling it".

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". "We proceed from the assumption that the relations between our two countries should preserve positive dynamics and historical ties that we had developed", she said. In his criticism, Rouhani also included Raisi's father-in-law, Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, who is the Friday prayer leader in Mashhad and who has publicly endorsed his son-in-law. "If you want peace, security, and freedom, vote for Rohani", a listener told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.


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