Iran votes in verdict on President Hassan Rouhani’s economy, diplomacy

Polls have opened Friday in Iran, voters voted to give their verdict on President Hassan Rouhani’s policy of opening up to the world and efforts to rebuild the stagnant economy. He faces a strong clergyman Ebrahim Raisi, 56, who has positioned himself as a defender of the poor and called for a much tougher line with the West.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voted a few minutes after the polls opened at 8:00 am (03:30 GMT). “The fate of the country is in the hands of the Iranians,” he told reporters that he voted in his compound in Tehran.
The long queues had already been formed in the polling stations of the country. Rouhani, a moderate clergyman, 68, tried to frame the election as a choice between greater civil liberties and “extremism.”
He pushed the boundaries during the fortnight, criticising the continued detention of reformist leaders and activists and calling on security agencies not to interfere in the vote.
Raisi says he will build on the nuclear agreement with world powers 2015, which saw the brakes on Iran’s atomic program in exchange for a relief of sanctions but stressed the continued economic recession as evidence that diplomatic efforts have Failed Rouhani.
“Instead of using the capable hands of our young people to solve problems, they put our economy in the hands of strangers,” Raisi told a final meeting in the holy city of Mashhad on Wednesday.
Rouhani responded by calling on voters to keep straying Iran’s delicate diplomatic levers away.
“A wrong decision by the president could mean war and a right decision can mean peace,” he said in his own Mashhad compilation.
The election comes at a time of tension in US relations. And Iran.
Rouhani got a break on Wednesday when the administration of US President Donald Trump has agreed to continue to waive nuclear sanctions, keeping the agreement on track.
But Trump has launched a 90-day review of the agreement he could see abandoned and Iran’s regional rival visiting Saudi Arabia this weekend.
“For me, M. dialogue with the world and moderation in Rouhani society are very important,” said Zahra, a 32-year doctoral student in food science.
Under former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “sanctions really hurt us. It was difficult to get lab equipment and very difficult to get visas to study abroad.” Now, my colleagues can travel in France and the United States, “he said.

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