Iran's Rouhani enters presidential race

(Express-Tribune) In a startling conversation with the Haaretz, Israel's Defence Minister has said he won't be surprised if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was assassinated during the country's up-coming elections.

Rouhani however set conditions of peace; "the road to peace is not a one-way route and all countries should have a will to keep peace and security in the region", he said, turning to the matter at hand, Iran's improved defense capabilities.

The five-day registration for the presidential election opened on April 11.

It is assumed Jahangiri, a 60-year-old reformist, is running to offer an alternative in case Rouhani is disqualified by the Guardian Council, which vets the candidates. Under Iranian law, he became eligible to run again after four years out of office, but he remains a polarizing figure, even among fellow hard-liners.

Over 1000 candidates have registered so far to run in next month's presidential election.

Ahmadinejad registered for presidential election along with his close aide, former vice-president Hamid Baqayee.

But the question remained as to how much attention the leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (the Pasdaran), the significant combat force, would be paying to ensuring national stability in the event that a vacuum was perceived to emerge.

Following the registration, Rouhani hailed the Iranian global nuclear deal, known as JCPOA, as his administration's achievement, saying that "from now on, protecting the nuclear deal would be one of the important issues (for the next government) politically and economically".

His toughest competitor is expected to be Ebrahim Raisi, a previously-little-known cleric who registered last week and has since gained wide popularity among Rouhani's opponents.

Seen as a proxy for Ahmadinejad after the former president was told not to stand by the supreme leader. Iran has since resumed selling oil and signed deals worth billions of dollars to replace its aging commercial airline inventory.

Influential cleric Ebrahim Raisi, the custodian of a powerful organization in charge of Iran's holiest shrine, appears to be the leading hardline candidate. Rouhani also is presumed to maintain support among liberals and those wanting tensions eased with the West, though polling is hard.

"I think the ruling system wants him to come as a reaction to Trump", Karegar said.

Rouhani also referred to his government's "successful" management of economic issues and said that he was able to curb the inflation, raise the rate of economic growth, stop depression and, to some extent, solve unemployment problem. "I won't vote for him".

  • Eleanor Harrison