Iran's top leader urges high turnout in presidential vote

  • Iran's top leader urges high turnout in presidential vote

Iran's top leader urges high turnout in presidential vote

In that regard, Bayram Sinkaya, a prominent academic and expert on Iran, commented on the matter to Daily Sabah and said that neither Hashemitaba nor Mirsalam has a good chance of winning the elections, noting that all of the traditional conservatives, technocrats as well as reformists and supporters of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani have gathered around Rouhani.

Presidential candidate President Rouhani who is seeking another mandate and Iranian Supreme Leader protégé Ebrahim Raisi have come head-to-head in fierce debates each riding the wave on freedoms, fighting corruption, resolving dilemmas faced by non-Persian nationalities and the rights of religious minorities.

The top issue is the economy. Rouhani won four years ago with 72.9% turnout and 18.6 million votes.

Meanwhile, several Rouhani campaign offices have been attacked by police and plainclothes agents, who used tear gas and "beat up" staff and supporters. "We're not opposed, but do not crowd out other people".

But hardline rivals hammered Rouhani over his failure to boost an economy weakened by decades of sanctions, even after most were rescinded following the nuclear agreement.

In his 2013 campaign, Rouhani vowed to lift the house arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi but that promise remains to be fulfilled.

Raisi is believed to be the favorite of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who will remain Iran's top decision-maker, but it's unclear whether Raisi will be able to unseat Rouhani.

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".

ZEINAB ASGHARPOUR, Rouhani Campaign Volunteer (through interpreter): These last days can make a huge difference.

"Hence, we continue to contend that Iran is one of the most underappreciated upside oil price risks in the oil market", she said.

More importantly, US President Donald Trump has shown his dissatisfaction over the nuclear deal brokered by his predecessor Barack Obama.

An example is Kourosh Sedgi, a 25-year-old student in the central city of Isfahan.

"We always have to choose between bad and worse in Iran's elections". The Obama administration supposed that the kind of economic opening promoted by Mr. Rouhani would bring about that change.

After the elections, any candidate with 50 percent of the votes plus one will be announced as the president of Iran. And by doing so, they hurt President Rouhani, his credibility. As a member of a "death commission" in 1988, he authorized the execution of 30,000 political prisoners - men, women and even children, mostly belonging to the main opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), as "enemies" of the state.

Many reformist voters say they are disillusioned, an apathy Rouhani's allies see as the biggest threat to his re-election.

"But he is way ahead of Raisi".

"I predict a record participation rate". Citing instructions by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Rouhani asked the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Basij to not get involved in party politics and stay in their place. Friday's election results will go a long way toward telling the world whether Iran's political establishment shares and supports those aspirations. They say a vote for Raisi is a return to isolation and confrontation.

The hope of the reformists had been that the deal would open up an economy hobbled by global sanctions.

Reza Marashi is director of research at the National Iranian American Council.

The incumbent favors expanding the private sector by attracting foreign investment, while the conservative cleric says Iran should build an economy that does not depend on foreign businesses.

"I will vote because I don't want Raisi to be elected".

For that reason, perhaps, Rouhani has seemed at odds with elements of the regime in recent years.

"In the election debates, some remarks were made that were unworthy of the Iranian nation".

"When we look at Iran's policy, we don't look at personalities".