Iranian opposition figure Karoubi to vote for Rouhani in election

Iranian opposition figure Karoubi to vote for Rouhani in election

Raisi already has the support of two major clerical bodies that declined to endorse anyone in the last presidential election, snubbing Rouhani, who himself is a cleric.

Rouhani alluded to this controversy during a campaign rally recently, saying: "The people of Iran will announce in this election that they don't accept those who only knew executions and prison for 38 years".

The other remaining candidates are Vice-President Eshagh Jahangiri, who supports Rouhani and is thought to have simply entered the contest to shield him from attacks, fellow reformer Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, a former industry minister, and Mostafa Mirsalim, a conservative and former culture minister.

"The leverage of my power does not possess some things, but some things will be possible with a vote of more than 51 percent", he said during a campaign stop in western Iran.

The former prosecutor is now head of a multi-billion-dollar charitable foundation that manages donations to Iran's holiest shrine in the city of Mashhad.

To Iran now where voters will head to the polls on Friday.

Iran's President Rouhani is facing a tough re-election battle in a two-horse race with a hardline cleric after the third main candidate dropped out.

Friday's presidential elections are the first since 2015's landmark nuclear agreement, under which Tehran agreed to roll back its nuclear programme in exchange for the removal of sanctions.

The president is viewed as the "moderate" choice and many see the election as something of a referendum on the policies that led to a landmark deal with worldwide powers that saw Tehran curb its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

This was stated by a senior researcher with the Center for Middle East Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Sazhin at a recent roundtable dubbed "Iran's power landscape ahead of the presidential election", TASS reported.

If nobody wins more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round on May 19, there will be a run-off a week later.

Mustaf Heshmat Zadeh, a volunteer campaigning for the president, said in remarks to #Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that pro-Rouhani activists have been holding intensive face-to-face conversations and dialogue with citizens at the campaigns' booths and public places, encouraging them to partake in the voting.

Ghasseminejad believes that while Rouhani is a weak candidate, Raisi may be even weaker. Khatami, who is facing restrictions in his movements and activities, has a huge influence among the Iranian electorate and his backing was crucial in Rouhani's victory in 2013.

But it has struggled to attract the large-scale foreign investments Mr Rouhani promised when the deal came into force, and which he said were necessary to reduce unemployment and kick-start the economy.

High voter turnout has generally favored moderate and reformist candidates in Iran.

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