Iran presidential candidates lay blame for ‘failed’ nuclear deal on reformer Rouhani

13 May

Mr Rouhani, who is seeking a second four-year term, has promised during his campaign to normalise relations with the west, greater foreign investments and a revival of tourism.

“I’m ready to, over the next four years, lift the rest of the sanctions against the Iranian nation, like the nuclear sanctions that I lifted over the past four years, with strength,” he said in Friday’s debate.

But his main rival, Mr Raisi, said it would do little to help, and that the president had bet too strongly on rapprochement with the West and on foreign investment.

Mr Raisi has campaigned on job creation and bigger cash handouts for the poor, but he has remained vague on other issues, including foreign policy. He has however committed to uphold the nuclear accord despite reservations. 

Mr Raisi, seen by some as a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is the president’s main challenger but is still a very distant second with less than a week to go.

Historically, the more Iranians who cast ballots the greater the chance a reformist or a moderate like incumbent President Rouhani will be elected.

However, Mr Rouhani’s bid for another four-year term comes amid widespread apathy among younger voters.

“I like Rouhani, but I do not want to vote at all,” said Aidin Yahyavi, 32. “Years after graduating, I am still unemployed and my parents support me.”

If no candidate wins 50 per cent of the vote, there will be a run-off between the top two one week later.

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