Iranian President and Supreme Leader Vote in Presidential Election

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 19, 2017

This year is already looking like a success for the regime, with massive queues reported at polling stations across the country.

This Friday, May 19, Iranians will go to the polls to elect the country's president for the next four years, a decision that will set the tone for Iran's relations with the rest of the world and how its economy and key commodities sector will be managed in the short-to-medium term. His companion, Mahmoud Fikri, added: "We know that the Western countries are backing Rouhani, their agents will try to interfere, we have had Ayatollah Khameini himself warning us this would happen".

Authorities have announced that due to huge participation of people and long lines at polling stations, voting time is extended for two more hours until 2200 hours.

The Islamic Republic of Iran will hold its 12th presidential election, along with its local elections on May 19.

For the election, Rouhani has pinned his hopes on people who are undecided or do not usually vote.

As it now stands, all candidates have vowed to continue abiding by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal signed in 2015 in which Iran agreed to rein in elements of its nuclear program in exchange for partial sanctions relief from the USA and the European Union (EU).

She believes a Raisi victory would give Iran a chance to revive domestic industrial production and create much-needed jobs for young people, almost a third of whom can't find work.

"Everyone should vote in this important election", he said, urging citizens to get the polls early.

Rouhani has sought to frame the election as a choice between greater civil liberties and "extremism". Those opposing Rouhani also all said they accepted the nuclear deal, once blasted by hard-liners, making the accord largely a non-issue.

"Instead of using the capable hands of our young people to resolve problems, they are putting our economy in the hands of foreigners", Raisi said at a closing campaign rally in second city Mashhad on Wednesday.

Rouhani responded by calling on voters to keep hardliners away from Iran's delicate diplomatic levers.

China lodged an official protest with the United States on Thursday over new U.S. sanctions on Iran that target a Chinese business tied to Tehran's ballistic missile program. Trump's enthusiasm for the deal (the destruction of which he has previously described as his "number one priority") could further diminish if the new Iranian leadership moves forward with a steelier stance.

Mr Raisi had repeatedly criticised the nuclear agreement President Rouhani signed with worldwide powers, including Britain, under which sanctions were due to be lifted and the economy vastly boosted.

Oil sales have rebounded since the nuclear deal took effect in January past year, but growth in the rest of the economy has been limited, leaving unemployment at 12.5 per cent overall, and nearly 30 per cent for young people.

Rouhani has brought inflation down from around 40 per cent when he took office in 2013, but prices are still rising by nine per cent a year.

"Rouhani did a lot of work that I praise him for, but we can not rely on foreigners".

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

"[Raisi] is thinking about the people, simple people; he's thinking about poor people", one of his supporters told Al Jazeera.

Of the six candidates approved, two have since dropped out.

"We think (this kind of sanctions) are unhelpful in enhancing mutual trust and unhelpful to the global efforts to solve this issue", Hua said at a regular press briefing. They also stated how none of the six presidential candidate in the presidential debates talked about the discrimination faced by women and the other minorities within the country. "I don't want more social pressure and more isolation", Samira Vaseghi, a 23-year-old university student, said in Tabriz.

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