Iran's vice president drops out of presidential race to support Rouhani

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An important achievement of Rouhani during his five-year term is his work in the partial lifting of the worldwide financial and trade sanctions against Iran.

However, it seems as if Ghalibaf had chose to save himself from another failure to win a presidential election. That same day, voters gave moderates 15 of the 16 seats reserved for the Tehran constituency in the Assembly of Experts. But that means the cost of living is still going up, and while real wages have risen for most Iranians, it's not been enough to compensate. The contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) by different provinces is telling: Tehran accounts for 25 percent of Iran's GDP, compared to the 1.4 percent that Golestan provides.

Most Iranians have yet to see the benefits of the nuclear deal.

In the public's eye, Rouhani clearly outshines other candidates as de facto guardian of the worldwide agreement and relations with the West.

In a blistering televised election debate on Friday, Rouhani cast his hardline clerical foes as power-hungry pawns of Iran's security forces, seeking to energize voters disillusioned by a sluggish economy and the slow pace of social reform. The nuclear deal would also ideally bring some peace in the region between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Recent polls have put the combined support for the two conservative candidates at just over 50 percent, with Rouhani at around 42 percent. He is in a particularly delicate position, in which he has to defend results while other candidates only have to make promises.

The normally mild-mannered cleric is trying to hold on to office by firing up reformist voters who want less confrontation overseas and more social and economic freedom at home. Some Iranian politicians believe that presidency is only the first step for Mr. Raisi, who is considered by many conservatives to be the right person to succeed Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Leader.

He served for years on the judiciary, including on a 1988 panel accused of sentencing thousands of political prisoners to death. Specifically, he pushed for tripling monthly cash handouts, ensuring a basic monthly salary for the registered unemployed and create five million jobs. Every living Iranian who has held the office ended up as a political pariah.

When asked about extension of anti-Iranian sanctions by US President Trump in two days, Ghasemi said he would prefer to comment on it once the decision has been made; "however, the Americans must have learned from the past and should adopt a wise approach on this matter".

On the other side of the competition, many are expecting Reformist Eshaq Jahangiri, who is the current vice president, to withdraw in favor of Rouhani. Although he is a product of the establishment himself as a former chief of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Rouhani was educated overseas, earning a PhD from Glasgow Caledonian University, and has been unique among first generation revolutionary statesmen in his relatively positive outlook towards the West.

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