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Rouhani, hard line rival register for Iran elections

18 April 2017

Well-informed sources close to Iranian leadership circles have indicated that Iranian "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, 77, was no longer responding to treatment for the cancer which spread from the prostate cancer which was detected as early as 2008; he may also have other forms of cancer, including one or more forms of leukemia. Rouhani changed his tone when he said that Iran would not seek permission by any power to develop missile and air fighters; "balance of power in the region and securing our deterrence power are two major reasons that Iran should improve its defensive capabilities", he added.

According to the Iranian media, Raisi may become the main rival of the incumbent president Hassan Rouhani.

Rouhani's predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also a credible challenger.

"We should always be ready especially because of the fact that we have been under military, political and economic attacks after the revolution", he said.

He has served as attorney-general, supervisor of state broadcaster IRIB and prosecutor in the Special Court for Clerics.

He told reporters that he viewed Ayatollah Khamenei's recommendation as "advice".

His father-in-law leads Friday prayers in Mashhad and both have seats on the Assembly of Experts that will choose the next supreme leader - a position for which Raisi himself is often rumoured to be in the running.

Unemployment is stuck at 12 percent, the promised billions in foreign investment have not materialised, and Rouhani has failed to release political prisoners, including reformist leaders under house arrest for their part in 2009 protests.

"The Islamic System has treated the heads of the sedition with mercy".

The Iranian president said that revival of social ethics and the rights of citizenship, transparency as well as free circulation of information would still be on the agenda of his program for the next term of presidency, if elected. The presidency would be a stepping-stone to the top, but losing an election could damage his standing.

For now, Raisi has focused on domestic economic issues, playing to the conservative base among poorer, more religious voters.

More than 950 people have signed up so far for the vote.

"The nuclear deal is a legal document and a pact". Furthermore, Raisi's domestic track-record may give Western governments and various non-governmental organizations more incentive to push for resumption of that isolation. "It would be very risky to pin former President Ahmadinejad as being just a principlist... because there's a lot of the things that he has done within Iran in terms of internal policies that could qualify as being reformist".