World Rouhani defends record as Iran hard-liner bids to replace him

03:50  11 april  2017
03:50  11 april  2017 Source:   Bloomberg

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President Hassan Rouhani , credited with ending Iran ’s international isolation with the landmark nuclear accord in 2015, defended his economic record ahead of next month’s presidential election -- a race jolted last week by the surprise entry of a prominent hardline cleric.

The hardline Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran ’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has been replaced with Reza Najafi, an Thus, for Rouhani to succeed, he must demonstrate to the Iranian hardliners that his efforts for reaching out to the United States can bear fruits.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks past a picture of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as he arrives to a press conference at the presidency compound in Tehran, Iran, Monday, April, 10, 2017. © AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks past a picture of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as he arrives to a press conference at the presidency compound in Tehran, Iran, Monday, April, 10, 2017.

TEHRAN, Iran — President Hassan Rouhani, credited with ending Iran’s international isolation with the landmark nuclear accord in 2015, defended his economic record ahead of next month’s presidential election — a race jolted last week by the surprise entry of a prominent hard-line cleric.

Speaking at a news conference in Tehran, Rouhani, who is widely expected to seek a second term, pushed back against criticism that poor Iranians have seen little benefit from the deal and lifting of sanctions. The economy has improved under his government, which stabilized the currency, curbed inflation and bolstered growth, he said on Monday.

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You are here. Home » Region » Rouhani defends Iran nuclear deal against hardliners . “ Iran is in a special situation that needs to be replaced by normalcy.” Iran ’s economy has been hard hit by international sanctions, while the vital oil exports have been more than halved by US and European

"They [ Rouhani 's supporters] failed to curb some of their radical and hardliner colleagues. Reformers and moderates had tried in the past few days to defend Dana's record in office, accusing Rouhani defended his minister and urged MPs to have greater confidence in him [AP].

“We’ve improved people’s living conditions from every point of view,” Rouhani told reporters. “Those on minimum wages, pensioners and those on welfare support have seen their incomes double in the past four years.”

Rouhani, 68, was speaking days after conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, a 56-year-old ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he planned to run. Last month, Khamenei singled out the plight of poor families and criticized Rouhani’s government for the state of the economy. Persuading the poor that they’ll be better off with him will be key to Rouhani’s chances, according to Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group.

“Rouhani undoubtedly needs to expand his voter base by appealing to fence-sitters and lower-income voters, who are susceptible to populist promises of a rapid economic recovery,” Vaez said in an email. “Higher-income voters are already in his basket, as they are unlikely to tilt toward the conservatives.”

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As the hardliners in Iran keep criticizing Rouhani and his role, they have gathered and nominated a powerful cleric as their possible candidate. Iranian observers have however voiced their concern over Raisi’s running due to his judicial record , especially in light of the executions in the summer of

With Iran having spotted a weakness in Obama, in a bid to convince him that Iran ’s nuclear program was for “peaceful purposes”, Khamenei brought onto the diplomatic stage, Hassan Rouhani , a so-called moderate.

A poll by the University of Maryland published in January found that, for the first time since 2014, a majority of Iranians think the economy is getting worse. Seventy-three percent said the nuclear deal hadn’t improved their living conditions. Support for the president dropped below 50 percent.

Rouhani won the presidency in a first-round landslide in 2013, aided by a divided field of five conservative opponents. He made normalizing Iran’s relations with the West the cornerstone of his presidency, and has tried to open the country to trade and investment.

Next month’s vote puts that policy at risk, as the Iranian conservative establishment is more hostile to the U.S. and its allies — though it is not clear that a conservative victory would lead to Iran backing out of the nuclear deal, which received Khamenei’s approval.

It also isn’t yet clear whether other conservative hopefuls will leave the challenge to Raisi. And were Rouhani to lose, he would be the first president in the history of the Islamic Republic to serve a single term.

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"They [ Rouhani 's supporters] failed to curb some of their radical and hardliner colleagues. Reformers and moderates had tried in the past few days to defend Dana's record in office, accusing Rouhani defended his minister and urged MPs to have greater confidence in him [AP].

But now that the negotiations are over, Rouhani ’s supporters say that Khamenei and his followers are trying to restrict the president’s authority or replace him . An election victory next year will cement hardliners ’ grip in power,” said a Rouhani ally. “ Rouhani was elected to resolve Iran ’s nuclear issue.”

Registration for presidential candidates begins on Tuesday at the Interior Ministry and will last five days. Rouhani said reporters must “wait and see” whether he makes an appearance.

“This year’s campaign has had a belated kick off,” said Vaez at the International Crisis Group. “The sooner Rouhani starts campaigning, the sooner rivals will mobilize against him.”

On Monday, Rouhani appeared to be in campaign mode. He emphasized inflation, which fell from 40 percent when he was elected in 2013 to 9 percent in the latest data. He also shrugged off pledges from would-be presidential challengers including Hamid Baghaei, a former aide of Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to substantially increase cash subsidies for all Iranians.

“Populist and demagogic approaches are not befitting our people or our country,” Rouhani said of the idea. “Subsidies that are being paid by the government are fully accounted for,” whereas in the past state handouts were sometimes funded illegally via the central bank, he said.

Asked why he wasn’t able to solve the country’s problems in 100 days, as a reporter from the Hamshahri newspaper said he promised, Rouhani denied ever saying it and said he’s been “waiting for four years” for the issue to come up.

“Only someone who is out of their mind would say that in 100 days they can solve every problem,” he said. “We made a plan from the first day and our economic growth and current rate of inflation is the result of our planning.”

The Coming Crisis With Iran .
The 2015 nuclear deal made the world a safer place. What will happen if it comes apart?WASHINGTON — President Trump has flip-flopped many times during his first months in office. But none may be as consequential as his decision on April 18 to certify that Iran is abiding by the nuclear deal of 2015, paving the way for further waiving of sanctions. In just a few months, Mr. Trump has gone from promising to “tear up” the nuclear deal to allowing its extension.

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