World Rouhani looks to beat hard-liner as Iran prepares to vote

20:33  18 may  2017
20:33  18 may  2017 Source:   Associated Press

Turnout is key for Iran's election, a challenge for Rouhani

  Turnout is key for Iran's election, a challenge for Rouhani Iran's presidential election may turn on turnout.Historically, the more Iranians who cast ballots, the greater the chance a reformist or a moderate like incumbent President Hassan Rouhani will be elected.However, Rouhani's bid for another four-year term comes amid apathy and grumbling from an electorate that largely hasn't seen the benefits of his signature nuclear deal with world powers. As his opponents promise populist cash handouts to the poor, Rouhani needs all the voters he can to cast ballots on May 19. But even some of his supporters say they may stay home.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.He'll soon find out if voters think

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to The 68-year-old cleric, a moderate within Iran 's political system, has history on his side as Iranians vote for president Friday.

In this picture taken on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cheer while holding his posters during a street campaign ahead the May 19 presidential election in downtown Tehran, Iran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard-liners' opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi): Supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cheer while holding his posters during a street campaign on Wednesday. © The Associated Press Supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cheer while holding his posters during a street campaign on Wednesday.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard-liners' opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

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He'll soon find out if voters think it's enough to keep him in the job.

The 68-year-old cleric, a moderate within Iran's political system, has history on his side as Iranians vote for president Friday. No incumbent president has failed to win re-election since 1981, when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader and most powerful man in Iran, became president himself.

Hardliners Chant "Bye Bye" To Rouhani in Tight Iran Election

  Hardliners Chant The race between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and conservative rival Ebrahim Raisi has been bitter, and Friday's election should to be close."Bye bye, Rouhani," roared the crowd. "At the end of the week, Rouhani is gone.

TEHRAN, Iran : Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to secure The 68-year-old cleric, a moderate within Iran 's political system, has history on his side as Iranians vote for president Friday.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to The 68-year-old cleric, a moderate within Iran 's political system, has history on his side as Iranians vote for president Friday.

Political analysts and the scant polling data that's available suggest Rouhani will come out on top among the four candidates left running, though an outright win is by no means assured. Failure to secure a majority on Friday would send the two top vote-getters into a runoff a week later.

His supporters streamed into downtown Tehran streets thick with police for rallies that lasted into the early hours Thursday, just ahead of a 24-hour no-campaigning period before the vote. Wearing Rouhani's signature purple on ribbons and loosely draped headscarves, they honked, cheered and chanted slogans in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, one of two Iranian opposition leaders under house arrest since 2011 who back Rouhani.

The rallies were largely peaceful even as Rouhani supporters faced off against smaller crowds supporting his main rival, hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, though police rushed reinforcements to break up Rouhani rallies that grew large enough to block traffic.

Polls open in first Iran presidential vote since atomic deal

  Polls open in first Iran presidential vote since atomic deal Iranians began voting Friday in the country's first presidential election since its nuclear deal with world powers, as incumbent Hassan Rouhani faced a staunch challenge from a hard-line opponent over his outreach to the wider world. Load Error The election is largely viewed as a referendum on the 68-year-old cleric's more moderate policies, which paved the way for the nuclear accord despite opposition from hard-liners.Economic issues also will be on the minds of Iran's over 56 million eligible voters as they head to more than 63,000 polling places across the country.

Latest Iran News. Rouhani looks to beat hard - liner as Iran prepares to vote . Iran 's top leader urges high turnout in presidential vote . Trump will be in Saudi Arabia, Iran 's regional rival, as votes are tallied. He will meet with Sunni Arab leaders who are opposed to Iran 's backing of Syrian President

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

Working against Rouhani is a sense among many Iranians that the 2015 nuclear deal, which saw Iran accept limits on its atomic energy program, has failed to deliver an economic windfall.

"No matter who's the next president, whoever comes to power should bring a better economy," hairstylist Reza Ghavidel said.

Although nuclear-related sanctions were lifted because of the deal, other U.S. and other international sanctions remain in effect. That leaves banks and many big corporations wary of doing business with Iran.

Unemployment, meanwhile, remains stuck in the double digits, with nearly a third of Iranian youth out of work, according to the International Monetary Fund.

"This election is about the economy. I don't think most voters are thinking about the soul of the nation right now," said Cliff Kupchan, the chairman of the Eurasia Group. "The numbers are looking better ... but the voters aren't feeling it."

Assad vows to continue working with Iran after Rouhani win

  Assad vows to continue working with Iran after Rouhani win Syria's President Bashar al-Assad lauded his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani Saturday on his election victory and vowed to continue cooperating with Tehran, a key Damascus supporter. Load Error Assad congratulated Rouhani on winning a second term and for earning "the trust the Iranian people gave him to continue bolstering Iran's position and role," according to a statement carried by Syrian state news agency SANA.

TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ’ opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to The 68-year-old cleric, a moderate within Iran 's political system, has history on his side as Iranians vote for president Friday.

Rouhani's stiffest challenge comes from Raisi, a law professor and former prosecutor who heads an influential religious charitable foundation with vast business holdings. He is seen by many as close to Khamenei, and has even been talked about as a possible successor to him. Khamenei has stopped short of endorsing anyone.

Raisi won the support of two major clerical bodies and promised to boost welfare payments to the poor. His populist posture, anti-corruption rhetoric and get-tough reputation — bolstered by his alleged role condemning inmates to death during Iran's 1988 mass execution of thousands of political prisoners — are likely to energize conservative rural and working-class voters.

In a bid to woo younger voters, he has even turned to appearing in a viral video next to a tattooed, once-underground rapper named Amir Tataloo — despite his own history of supporting the cancellation of concerts on moral grounds.

Mostafa Hashemitaba, a pro-reform figure who previously ran for president in 2001, and Mostafa Mirsalim, a former culture minister, also remain in the race.

What Does Rouhani’s Victory Mean for the Nuclear Deal?

  What Does Rouhani’s Victory Mean for the Nuclear Deal? Rouhani’s victory is a vote of confidence in his reformist vision, but he faces challenges from abroad and home.The reformist president’s pivotal achievement during his first term was the historic deal whereby Tehran agreed to reduce its uranium enrichment and plutonium production in exchange for a winding down of international economic sanctions.

Latest Iran News. Rouhani looks to beat hard - liner as Iran prepares to vote . TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange

The 68-year-old cleric, a moderate within Iran 's political system, has history on his side as Iranians vote for president on Friday.

The ruling system put in place after the 1979 Islamic Revolution combines conservative clerical oversight and state control over large parts of the economy with tightly regulated but still hotly contested elections for key government posts. All candidates for elected office must be vetted, a process that excludes anyone calling for radical change, along with most reformists. No woman has been approved to run for president.

Under Iran's system, the president is subordinate only to the supreme leader, who is chosen by a clerical panel and has the ultimate say over all matters of state. The presidency is still a powerful post, with considerable influence over domestic policy, the state bureaucracy and foreign affairs.

A victory for Rouhani could lead to a further loosening of limits on personal freedom, while a hard-line win could set Iran up for a renewed bout of confrontation with the West at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has called for a tougher line on Iran.

Trump will be in Saudi Arabia, Iran's regional rival, as votes are tallied. He will meet with Sunni Arab leaders who are opposed to Iran's backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad and remain skeptical of its regional intentions.

Whoever wins Friday's vote could help shape the choice of the next supreme leader, and in turn the direction of the country.

Rare night of street parties in Iran after Rouhani win

  Rare night of street parties in Iran after Rouhani win It was a rare night of open-air partying in Iran on Saturday as tens of thousands of supporters of President Hassan Rouhani took to the streets to celebrate his re-election. Load Error For many, it was a chance to breathe easily again after a tense campaign between Rouhani and his hardline opponent Ebrahim Raisi. "I'm happy and a bit relieved after a month of stress," said 27-year-old Afshin as he joined a large crowd gathered in Vali Asr Square of central Tehran.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard - liners ' opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

Khamenei is 77 and only the second person in Iran's history to hold the top job. He underwent prostate surgery in 2014, prompting speculation about his health.

The president is one of three members on a temporary council that takes over the supreme leader's duties should his post become vacant until a successor is named by the panel known as the Assembly of Experts. Rouhani and Raisi both sit in that assembly.

"The game is very complicated and multi-layered. Everyone's thinking about the next four years and the succession of Ayatollah Khamenei," said Saeid Golkar, an expert on authoritarian regimes and Iran at Northwestern University.

The three-week campaign has been marked by boundary-pushing politicking among what were originally six candidates.

Rouhani has come out swinging against hard-liners, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, which plays an outsized but unelected role in Iranian politics. In one memorable debate moment, he criticized the Guard for launching a ballistic missile bearing the words "Israel must be wiped out" in Hebrew.

Turnout will be key — no more so than for Rouhani. Reformists and moderates tend to fare better when more voters make it to the polls, and a head-to-head runoff against Raisi is something he will want to avoid. City council elections alongside the presidential vote are likely to attract more voters in the first round, and the start of the holy month of Ramadan late next week could keep voters home during a runoff, Golkar said.

Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi in Tehran and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.


Rouhani says Iran's ballistic missile program will continue: TV .
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday Tehran would continue its ballistic missile program, state television reported, striking a defiant note after strong criticism of the Islamic Republic from U.S. President Donald Trump. "The Iranian nation has decided to be powerful. Our missiles are for peace and for defense ... American officials should know that whenever we need to technically test a missile, we will do so and will not wait for their permission," Rouhani said in a news conference, broadcast live on state TV.

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