Iran reformist drops out of election, supports Rouhani

Or, rather, most of those 55 million people will vote and many will not because there is great disillusionment with President Hassan Rouhani who promised to improve the economy, and also with the global treaty on curbing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions that was supposed to bring back prosperity.

"On the one hand, leaders in the USA and Europe, regional governments following the U.S. lead and Zionist officials will be watching how Iranians enter the election scene", the Leader's own official website quoted him as saying.

Although Rouhani was criticized during the campaign for signing the nuclear deal, principlist candidates have said they would respect the deal as a national accord, despite earlier criticisms.

"What Raisi is depending on is a surge from those who are underprivileged, those who are poor, those who traditionally go to this camp in Iranian politics, and those assurances by Raisi, whether they can be afforded or not, of handouts to the poor", Simmons said.

Rouhani's chief opponent is the conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi. Rouhani is clearly emboldened: partly due to his candid personality, and partly due to the fact that significant electoral malfeasance remains extremely costly - but not impossible - for the entire system, as evidenced by chants for Mousavi and Karroubi at Rouhani's campaign rallies across the country. Nevertheless, as The World Weekly went to press, polls put Mr. Rouhani in the lead.

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi). Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate cleric Ebrahim Raisi hold posters with is image during a street campaign for the May 19 election in downtown Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

In a televised speech Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said the U.S. and its allies, including the "pathetic prime minister of the Zionist regime", or Israel, are closely watching the vote.

"At the halfway point, we don't turn back", he told voters.

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Iran's regional policies, its alleged support for terrorism and its missile program will constrict Rouhani's ability to get the remaining sanctions lifted.

On Wednesday, the United States decided not to reimpose sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme.

A source at the Rouhani campaign headquarters told CHRI: "After the Khatami video in support of Rouhani was published, we received a call from the prosecutor's office threatening us with arrest if we did not delete the video from our website".

While Iranians largely welcomed the reduced tensions with the West, the ongoing economic slump has taken a toll on morale. "Why? Because they know that these are the areas which the reformists and the moderates want to improve". Crude oil sales rose following the nuclear deal, but the unemployment rate appears set to stay around 12% owing to a lack of growth in labor-intensive industries that generate jobs for a broad range of jobs.

Rouhani says he inherited a financial mess from his populist predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was dramatically barred from standing this year by the Guardian Council after falling foul of the conservative establishment.

But apathetic Iranians, many disillusioned by Rouhani's inability to usher in social change, make up a third category of voter. No incumbent president has failed to win re-election since 1981, when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader and most powerful man in Iran, became president himself. "Faced with the enemy, the people should show its determination and calm", he said.

Incomes have stagnated or fallen, youth unemployment is 26 per cent, and many people have lost faith in Rouhani. Ironically, Trump's travel to the Kingdom will take place on May 19 - the same day that Rouhani or Raisi will claim Iran's presidency to forge what they both promise to be a "better future" for all.

"The people of Iran shall once again announce that they don't approve of those who only called for executions and jail throughout the last 38 years", he said recently, referring to the 1979 revolution. He said his campaign sends a message to "the extremists and those who use violence that your era is over".

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