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Iran: President Rouhani registers to run for 2nd term

Iran: President Rouhani registers to run for 2nd term

"Once again, I am here for Iran, for Islam, for freedom and for more stability in this country".

Rouhani's moderate supporters are in coalition with the reformist camp, whose presidential candidate Mohammad Reza Aref withdrew in Rouhani's favor in the 2013 election. He is loyal to the establishment.

His pro-reform rivals said that vote was rigged.

Ahmadinejad previously said he would not run and would support his former Deputy Hamid Baghaei, who also registered on Wednesday. Although Rouhani undertook a certain level of outreach to the worldwide community as evidenced by his pursuit of an agreement over the Iranian nuclear program, his administration has followed the rest of the regime in simply dismissing the well-founded global criticisms of the country's human rights record. This election is crucial for Iran as it is seen as a referendum on the nuclear deal it reached in 2015 with global powers. "However he has no choice but to play such a role", said Ahmadinejad.

Tehran has always assured other nations that its military might poses no threat to the regional countries, saying that the Islamic Republic's defense doctrine is entirely based on deterrence.

Many wonder why he would risk a run for the presidency if, as speculated, he is being considered as a possible future supreme leader.

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For the time being, constant and green-friendly development, creating jobs and fighting social problems, say, poverty and addiction are among major concerns of his administration and he is determined to pace in this direction, Rouhani said.

Ahmadinejad also voiced reluctant support for Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with the US and other world powers, which saw Iran accept curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling worldwide sanctions.

The conservatives remain divided, but Raisi appears to have the most momentum.

The aggressive stance of US President Donald Trump, who has slapped new sanctions on Iran and threatened to tear up the nuclear deal, has bolstered conservative claims that Rouhani was duped by the West.

Strong criticism of Rouhani's economic record by hardliners including Khamenei in recent weeks have led some analysts to speculate whether the president may still be blocked from seeking another term.

Vetting starts today by the Guardian Council, an all-male body of 12 jurists and clerics who are close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, which must approve all candidates before any elections. He added that the decision to attack Syria was made by people behind the scenes in the US, strongly implying that the USA presidency is decided behind closed doors.

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Trump has criticised the nuclear deal and pledged during his election campaign to stop Iran's missile programme. However, critics say Iranians have yet to feel the economic benefits.

The 56-year-old judge, who now runs the powerful charity-cum-business-empire Astan Qods Razavi, has emphasised his concern for the poor and is seen as a close ally of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

During Ahmadinejad's administration, Iran faced heavy worldwide sanctions for its nuclear program, which Western countries said aimed to develop weapons.

"Rouhani is still very popular and he is in a very strong position".

Registration to run in Iran's election on May 19 closed on Saturday, with more than 1,600 hopefuls throwing their hats in the ring.

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