Will Rouhani lose elections?

Top leader: Iran will 'slap' anyone causing election unrest

Addressing the Iranian people, he said, "We hope that on the day of the election (May 19), we would decide our fate for the coming years and decades".

This election will be the first since the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers. A Rouhani win could signal that Iran would stick with its end of the nuclear deal, while a conservative candidate could disrupt the agreement.

For the past several months the ultra-conservative camp has been vocal in its criticism of Mr. Rouhani's agenda, dismissing his economic and political outreach to the West as being naive and risky for the ideological future of the Iranian system.

"We should not show any weakness in the face of the enemy", Raisi during a televised debate.

Hashemitaba took part in the 2001 presidential election, winning just 28,000 of the 28 millions votes cast.

A bruised Rouhani may struggle to secure enough votes to avoid a second ballot, prompting some analysts to predict he might lose in a run-off against Ebrahim Raisi, a former prosecutor Khamenei has helped build up, appointing him previous year to oversee Iran's largest shrine and its charitable foundation.

He is backed by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, the country's top security force, their affiliated volunteer Basij militia, hardline clerics and two influential clerical groups.

"Vote for Rouhani because he is the man for hard situations". Raisi and other hardliners have accused Rouhani of tolerating corruption and mismanaging the economy, charges he denies.

Largely unknown in politics, Mr. Raisi was deputy prosecutor of Tehran in 1988 at a time when thousands of political prisoners were executed.

Raisi, a cleric and former attorney general, serves as the head of the Imam Reza charity foundation, which manages a vast conglomerate of businesses and endowments in Iran. He was President of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009- 2014) and Chair of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (Caucus) from 2004-2014.

A close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Raisi is also thought to be in line to become supreme leader in the future.

Another prominent conservative, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, withdrew from the race on Monday and backed Raisi, uniting the hardline faction and giving Raisi's chances a boost. Khamenei's manipulation of the Iranian elections exposes the fact that they are a sham and a scandal.



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