As the newly re-elected Hassan Rouhani said after the twin terror attack in Tehran, the people of Iran – the fastest growing economy in the region – are moving forward.
The pot shots US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and the Iranian leaders have taken at each other in the aftermath of the election suggest no improvement in ties can be expected.
Hassan Rouhani got 58.5% percent of the votes, while conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi came in with a distant 39%.
Given the long queues and high voter turnout across Iran, the cut-off time for casting votes had to be extended multiple times.
A high voter turnout in urban areas, where 70% of the population resides, is being seen as key to Hassan Rouhani’s re-election. But in rural areas, where voting turnout is typically high, Ebrahim Raisi’s platform of economic misery and more cash-handouts could find a resonance.
Two recent rallies in Tehran highlighted just how different the two candidates’ supporters and their concerns for the country are.
The country’s culturally liberal president is the front-runner in opinion polls but the race is expected to tighten before May 19, polling day.
Qalibaf, a former Revolutionary Guards commander and police chief, was one of the main conservative challengers to Rouhani – a pragmatist seeking a second term.
Rouhani is trying to hold on to office by seeking support from reformist voters who are disillusioned by the economy and the slow pace of social reforms.
The clerical body said that they had decided after a meeting that hardline candidate and the Ayatollah Khameini’s favoured Raisi was the “best candidate.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei played down the benefits of Rouhani’s landmark agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in return for a lifting of international sanctions.
He said that Iran’s economy had improved since his election but his views clash with Khamenei and other hardliners who dislike his policy towards the West.
The Guardian Council approved six candidates but disqualified former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had been warned by Khamenei not to enter the race.
Pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani is seeking re-election against hardline rivals who have been gearing up for a political showdown.
The approval of Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, and Ebrahim Raisi, a political hardliner thought to have the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sets up a showdown between rival political camps.
In conversation with analyst Muhammad Sahimi on Iran’s upcoming presidential elections, the country’s deep state, the nuclear deal with the US and the Trump administration’s state.