Jueves, 29 Junio, 2017

A look at Iran's presidential candidates

Iran's presidential election is effectively a choice between moderate incumbent Rouhani and hardline jurist Ebrahim Raisi A look at Iran's presidential candidates
Montez Delgado | 19 May, 2017, 23:05

He will not confront the leader (Khamenei) if elected. Hassan Rouhani, the country's reformist president, hopes to be re-elected. His government negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal, which saw Iran accept curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling worldwide sanctions.

An initial field of over 1,600 hopefuls registered to run in the election.

Mohammad Khatami, another reformist who served as Iran's president from 1997 to 2005, also has endorsed Rowhani. The council has never allowed a woman to run for president and routinely rejects candidates calling for dramatic reform. Several said they were voting for Rouhani, praising his work on the nuclear energy deal and for earning the country more global respect. During the campaign, Rouhani also increasingly has criticized Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, a hard-line paramilitary force answering only to Khamenei, something he so far has been hesitant to do while in office.

A second presidential term for Rouhani could ease the way for Iran to push ahead with planned gas pipeline links to Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and Pakistan, and even to fill an existing undersea pipeline to the UAE, which has sat empty for more than a decade.

His main challenger is seen as Ebrahim Raisi, 56, a hardline cleric and former prosecutor who is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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Last year, Khamenei appointed Raisi as head of the Imam Reza charity foundation, which manages a vast conglomerate of businesses and endowments in Iran. Rowhani promised in his 2013 campaign to free the men, but hasn't. 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. Meanwhile, Raisi has promised to triple cash handouts to the poor, hoping to pick up voters who once supported Rouhani's populist predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

However, his candidacy also has revived the controversy surrounding the 1988 mass execution of thousands in Iran, one of the darkest moments of Iran's post-revolution history still not recognized by its government.

Raisi has said he will stick by the nuclear deal but pointed to the continued economic slump as proof that Rouhani's diplomatic efforts have failed.

Long queues formed at polling stations around the country after a short but gripping campaign that has again captivated the nation of 80 million. A voter must show their national ID card and fill out a form.

The Iranian regime is scattered with people like these two candidates. Polls close at 6:00 p.m. Reformist-Activist Mostafa Tajzadeh was quoted by FP, saying that although he is anxious that promise of cash might influence the poor and unemployed voters, he also points out how the Iranian middle-class and liveral voters are unenthusiastic about the elections.

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Preliminary results are expected early Saturday. Analysts have suggested a high turnout will aid Rouhani in securing a second four-year term.

After voting, Raisi told journalists that all should "completely surrender to the result of the election".

But significant expansions in production capacity need worldwide investment, and Iran has yet to unveil its new contract model for upstream development deals: the much ballyhooed Iran Petroleum Contract. Also important, however, is choice that Iran's political establishment must make on Election Day. However, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on all state matters and the Guardian Council must approve all laws passed by the parliament.

That hasn't stopped those at Rouhani rallies from shouting for the release of the house-arrested leaders of the 2009 Green Movement.

For conservatives, the election represents a chance to restore the values of the 1979 revolution, which requires elected officials to be subordinate to the Shi'ite Muslim clergy and supreme leader.

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