Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Iran's president registers to run in May elections

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani has registered to run for a second four-year term in the upcoming presidential elections in the country, set for May 19, the Fars news agency reported on Friday.

Running on the platform "More freedom and peace" Rouhani said, "Freedom should be expanded in both scope and strength in this country".

Following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's recommendation in December that Ahmadinejad stay out of the race, moderate President Hassan Rouhani was seen to have a wide-open path to reelection.

Rouhani has also lost one of his main backers: heavyweight former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who passed away in January, played a key role in the surprising landslide victory in 2013. Presently, he is a member of Assembly of Experts from South Khorasan Province, being elected for the first time in 2006 election.

Ardavan Amir-Aslani, a French-Iranian lawyer who advises European companies setting up in Iran, said he would be surprised if Rouhani does not win re-election despite the economic malaise.

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Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, General John Nicholson warned of a stalemate in the country. According to USA officials, most of the members of the local Islamic State branch are Pakistani and Uzbek militants.

"In every aspect that you consider, figures tell us that after the (nuclear deal), there is more space for movement and progress", he told reporters last week. Raisi is also a prosecutor at the Special Cleric Court.

Iranian hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi registered on Friday to run for next month's presidential election, state television showed.

Iran's hardline faction does not appear to be firmly behind Ahmadinejad's candidacy since it goes against the advice of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, but that faction would certainly benefit if either his candidacy or his electoral victory prompted the U.S. to undermine the nuclear deal, which has been a source of tremendous hardline animosity against the Rouhani administration. The council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.

Critics of the deal, however, complain that economic benefits have yet to trickle down to average Iranians.

According to Iran's official electoral commission, more than 860 people have registered their candidacies since the registration process began on Tuesday.

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