|Published : 15 Apr 2017, 13:58:59|
Rouhani to contest Iranian election for second term
Iran’s centrist president Hassan Rouhani confirmed that he would contest the elections to be held on May 19.
Mr Rouhani defended his economic performance and highlighted the main achievement of his first term - the nuclear deal with global powers in 2015.
But concerns are growing in reformist circles that powerful opponents will try to have Mr Rouhani disqualified. All candidates have to be approved by the Guardian Council, a hardline constitutional watchdog that rules on loyalty to the Islamic republic and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.
Iranian politics have been polarised since disputed elections in 2009 and the nuclear deal has become a point of contention.
Mr Khamenei recently criticised the government’s economic performance and hinted that Mr Rouhani signed the accord without ensuring sanctions that affected banks’ willingness to do business in Iran would be lifted. US sanctions related to facilitating and financing terrorism remained in place after the deal was implemented.
Criticism of the accord by Donald Trump, US president, has emboldened hardliners, who see it as proof that engaging with the west is not useful.
Hardliners who have signalled their intent to run include Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, former president, and Ebrahim Raisi, a powerful cleric, who is being championed by conservatives loyal to Mr Khamenei.
The supreme leader has urged Mr Ahmadi-Nejad not to run, and the Guardian Council may not allow him to, according to an international media report on Saturday.