Iran presidential elections: everything you need to know

As voters prepare to go to the polls this week, we look at the two frontrunners and probe what is at stake for the country

Whats the story and why is it important?

Iran goes to the canvas on 19 May in the two countries first presidential elections since the landmark nuclear arrangement in 2015, when Tehran agreed to roll back its nuclear programme in return for the removal of sanctions. The fate of that bargain has been shed in doubt since Donald Trump took the helm at the White House, but despite his increasingly belligerent hyperbole, the US president has so far not taken any serious measures in place to scrap these agreements.

Irans interaction with countries around the world is at post. The incumbent president, Hassan Rouhani, raised Iran in from the coldnes, even regarding direct talks with the US under Trumps predecessor, something that was a taboo for more than three decades. The trajectory of Irans foreign policy changed dramatically under Rouhani, a moderate cleric, but that approach could alter under a brand-new chairwoman.

Internally, a Rouhani defeat would deal a blow to the countrys reformists and creating hardliners back in superpower.

The election comes at a critical time in Iran: in recent years, specially since 2014 when the countrys supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, underwent prostate surgery, supposition about his potential successor has grown.

Khamenei has the final say in all government matters in Iran, but in cases where there his death the president can have a crucial role in the appointment of the next ruler, even though it is not up to him to choose one. Khamenei was himself president in the 1980 s when Ayatollah Khomeini, the then supreme leader and founder of the 1979 Islamic revolution, croaked. He was then promoted by the council of experts, their own bodies in charge of selecting Irans supreme managers, to superseded Khomeini.

Rouhanis main challenger, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, is believed to have bigger passions than merely the conference of presidents. Over the past year, he has been touted as a frontrunner to attain Khamenei. While it is true that Khameneis authority outstretches that of the president as long as he is alive, a brand-new chairwoman could vastly change the political landscape at home.

What are the issues?

Resolving the stalemate over the countrys nuclear programs was Rouhanis main expedition predict in the 2013 ballots and on this metric he has succeeded.

But such elections are also seen as a referendum on how he has acted economically under the terms of the nuclear accordance. Rouhani has stabilised the Iranian economy and drew down inflation but unemployment is high and his opposings have questioned whether his administration has done enough to introducing tangible financial benefits.

Raisi has represented himself as presidential candidates of the poorest of the poor and is extending awareness-raising campaigns focused on economic priorities, announced design and glory.

Shoppers in Tehrans splendid bazaar. The countrys economy is a major be concentrated on the election. Picture: Atta Kenare/ AFP/ Getty Images

How does the electoral system operate?

Almost any adult of Iranian descent and with Iranian nationality can take his or her identity cards, a few passport-sized photographs and the necessary documents to the interior ministry in Tehrans Fatemi Street to register as presidential candidates. But not everyone is allowed to actually take part. The guardian council, a strong figure of six clergymen and six jurists, veterinarians each candidacy. Political ability and loyalty to the fundamental principles of the Islamic republic and its belief are among the main issues considered by the council.

This year, out of more than 1,600 who applied to run, merely six campaigners were accepted. More than 100 wives likewise registered, but nothing constructed it past the vetting process. Apart from Rouhani, the 5 continuing campaigners were Eshaq Jahangiri, who is Rouhanis first vice-president, the Tehran mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, hardliner Raisi, and the relatively low-profile politicians Mostafa Agha Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemi-Taba. Among those barred from flowing was the former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ghalibaf descent out in favour of Raisi on Monday. Jahangiri is also were supposed to step aside in favor of Rouhani at some extent the coming week.

The campaign period, which started in late April following the announcement of the schedule of approved candidates by the guardian council, will continue until Wednesday 17 May before such elections on Friday 19 May.

If an overall majority is not achieved in the first round, the two candidates with the most votes will compete in a runoff. Elections are contained and causes announced under the supervision of an administrative council in the ministry of internal affairs. The voting age is 18, and an estimated 55 million Iranians are eligible to vote.

Who are the two favourites ?

Hassan Rouhani , 68, the reformist-backed moderate incumbent, is a former director Iranian nuclear diplomat who provided as the secretary of Irans supreme national security council for 16 years. Under the former chairperson Mohammad Khatamis presidency, Rouhani was responsible for negotiating with the west over Tehrans nuclear dossier. Under Rouhani, Iran halted its enrichment of uranium and depicted more cooperation with labour inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. For many years, Rouhani was a close ally of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the relative reformer who died in January.

Rouhani were frequently described as a moderate rather than a reformist. But he is also a elderly preacher with impeccable revolutionary credentials who has been an adviser to the supreme president, Khamenei, and contained very sensitive positions in parliament and the establishment. Born in 1948 in Sorkheh, a small town in Semnan province, Rouhani was the eldest of five children in what he called a religious and revolutionary family who lived in a modest residence surrounded by vines and pomegranates. “His fathers” owned a grocery. His mom, Sakineh, recollects him as a calm son who exceeded at institution, read the Quran and enjoyed dive and climbing.

Hassan Rouhani speaking at an electoral revival in Tehran. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/ EPA

He was education in Qom, the Canterbury of the Shia Muslim world, and changed his family name which originally was Feridoun as a security measure to avoid the attention of the Savak secret police when preaching against theShah( Rouhani necessitates cleric in Persian ). Unusually for a clergyman before the revolution, he analyse law at Tehran University. In the 1990 s, he was awarded a PhD by Glasgow Caledonian University for a thesis on the flexibility of sharia with reference to the Iranian experience. Rouhani spent time in Paris with the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini and Rafsanjani and penetrated parliament after the revolution. During the conflict with Iraq in the 1980 s, he commanded national breath defence. In 1986, as deputy loudspeaker in parliament, he took part in secret talks with US agents as part of what became known as the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages affair.

In 1989, the year Khomeini died and Rafsanjani became president, he was appointed secretary of the supreme national members of the security council. In 2003, with countries of the region in turmoil after the US invasion of Iraq, he grew Irans leader nuclear intermediary, agreeing willingly in talks with the EU3( Britain, France and Germany) to expel uranium enrichment temporarily.

Ebrahim Raisi , 56, is allied with Irans reactionaries. He is custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, the wealthiest donation in the Islamic world and the organisation in charge of Irans holiest sanctuary, Imam Reza, in Mashhad in eastern Iran. Over the past year, Raisi has been touted as a frontrunner to become Khameneis successor, a higher position than that of the president. Some commentators propose he is being groomed for a possible inheritance and a prevail in general elections would pave the way for him. A defeat would scupper his the opportunities of replacing Khamenei.

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, Rouhanis main challenger, is believed to have big ambitions than simply the conference of presidents. Photograph: Majid Saeedi/ Getty Images

He wears a black turban, indicating he is a seyed a direct offspring of the oracle Muhammad, in Shia Islam. Raisi had just reached adulthood by the 1979 Islamic revolution, but rose quickly through the ranks. In the summer of 1988, he was one of the four sharia judges behind the mass hanging of leftists and demonstrators.

More recently he was Irans prosecutor general and still deems an important separation within the judiciary as the head of the court that prosecutes troublemaking clerics. He is married to the daughter of a hardline ayatollah who is the representative of Khamenei in the eastern responsibility of Khorasan-Razavi, dwelling to the Imam Reza sanctuary.

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