Iran’s top leader urges high turnout in presidential vote

Even in Iran, the globalist-nationalist theme has overtaken political discourse surrounding Friday’s presidential election.

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With the withdrawal of other candidates, Friday’s election has turned into what is seen as an unexpectedly tight race between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani of the Reformist bloc, and Ebrahim Raisi, a Principlist cleric and jurist.

“Iran’s regional role – particularly in the conflicts zones of Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and beyond – is designed and implemented by the Revolutionary Guards under the supervision of the Supreme Leader”, says Majidyar at the Middle East Institute. Iran had more than 40 million barrels of oil stored in tankers in the Persian Gulf, which were blocked from export.

“I have not chose to vote yet because candidates do not consider the situation of our youth and their future”.

However, this time around, Ghalibaf, who stepped aside in favor of Raisi on May 15, had a different approach toward foreign policy and entered the election with a revised view.

Ayatollah Khamenei further held: The Islamic Republic has granted us freedom; although, some people are ungrateful and use the freedom they are given to deny freedom exists-this is ungrateful. “I personally like him a lot”. “My kids can not eat freedom”, the municipality employee said in the northern city of Rasht. There is a 400-million [-strong] market in the region that we need to pay attention to.

“I am not interested in politics”.

Khamenei is believed to favour Rouhani’s main challenger, the hard-line candidate Ebrahim Raisi, who has support from major clerical bodies, hard-liners in the establishment as well as allies of former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s seventh president, elected in 2013, Mr Rouhani succeeded in securing agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, the partial lifting of sanctions, and restoration of relations with the West.

“To a certain extent, Rouhani’s attacks appear to be even harsher” than during the 2013 campaign, said Reza Akbari, an Iran politics researcher at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Hardliners dominating the judiciary and security services have stood in the way, his defenders say.

Notably, during negotiations over the Iranian nuclear programme, some of the “red lines” set by Ayatollah Khamenei were manifestly violated by Iran’s negotiating team. His campaign was boosted by endorsements from influential political and cultural figures to mobilize young people and women to go to the polls. “Majority are seeking to emigrate from Iran for better opportunities and say living conditions in Iran are unbearable”.

Iran’s presidential election next week presents a false choice to their restive people.

Has Rouhani succeeded in reforming Iran? “I will not vote”. “We always have to choose between bad and worse in Iran’s elections”.

That, in turn, could depend on Rouhani winning not only re-election but also a decisive enough mandate to keep his hardline opponents in check. All candidates for elected office must be vetted, a process that excludes anyone calling for radical change, along with most reformists.

“I am disappointed with Rouhani”.

“Maybe what this is all about is not a challenge to the JCPOA as much as a challenge to who will benefit from the JCPOA”, said Hadi Ghaemi, director of the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. They are part of a new dominant class formed by the families and friends of clerics and the Islamic guards, who through “privatization” programs came to own industries, mines, agro-businesses, prime real estate and banks.

‘How can what Trump says be anything but damaging?’ said Siavash Sharivar, a civic society organiser who has been helping the Rouhani campaign.

“But he is way ahead of Raisi”.

Desperate to show off the rewards of his landmark deal to get sanctions lifted from Iran, President Hassan Rouhani has rolled out the red carpet for global investors before he faces the voters in an election next week. President Donald Trump has said he’s reviewing the deal’s future.

“The first president, Abolhassan Banisadr, was impeached”, the analyst said.

Raisi said Iran’s continued exclusion from worldwide banking, despite the nuclear deal, was proof that Rouhani’s diplomacy had failed. “Raisi has lots of power”.

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According to USA intelligence estimates and the analysis of Iranian opposition groups, the “nuclear accord dividend” has been siphoned off by the state’s instruments of violence and repression, including a huge budget increase to the brutal Iranian Revolutionary Guard, massive expenditures in ballistic missile development and ongoing interference in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Iran's Election Will Change Nothing