Did Rouhani sell 'grand bargain' with U.S. to Iranian voters?

Iranian woman walks past electoral posters and hand written slogans for presidential election candidates in downtown Tehran Iran. Who wins Iran's upcoming presidential election like

Iranian presidential candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf withdrew from this month's election to support fellow conservative Ebrahim Raisi, state television reported, a decision that polls show would effectively create a two-man race with incumbent Hassan Rouhani.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said that Friday's presidential election will place the country at a critical juncture, and its people must choose between peace or tension.

For his part, Rouhani said on Sunday during a speech delivered from Isfahan's historic Naqsh-e Jahan square, that in case he won the presidential elections, he plans to cooperate with the worldwide community and seek to lift the non-nuclear sanctions imposed on Iran, in a hint that the Iranian president plans to open a direct dialogue with the administration of US President Donald Trump.

All Iranian presidents have won re-election since 1981 and Rouhani remains the favourite. That election saw turnout of 73 percent, a high figure Rouhani will need to duplicate among Iran's 56.4 million eligible voters this time around.

To see some of the best social media posts about the Iranian election and the boycott, visit the National Council of Resistance of Iran. He called a vote for Raisi a "crucial decision" to "preserve the unity" of the revolution.

Conservative candidate Ibrahim Raisi is considered the strongest opponent to Rouhani in the current election.

"The people of Iran will announce in this election that they don't accept those who only knew executions and prison for 38 years", said Rouhani at the Monday rally. "Qalibaf speaks more to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and security apparatus, Raisi more to the traditional conservative".

Rouhani's allies say his rivals oppose deeper change and exposure to global competition in part because of the economic interests of the Guards, which gained control of swathes of Iran's industry during its years of isolation. "It's going to be tricky for Rouhani to position himself in the center to gain the votes that were going to go to Qalibaf".

The president is viewed as the "moderate" choice and many see the election as something of a referendum on the policies that led to a landmark deal with global powers that saw Tehran curb its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. "In Tehran, his votes will go mainly to Rouhani but outside Tehran his supporters will vote for Raisi", said political analyst Hamid Farahvashian.

Mr Raisi is a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"I think a low turnout of the voters will be devastating for President Rouhani since moderate candidates usually have larger chances of winning when the turnout is above 65 percent", the economist Said Lailaz said. Raisi has been campaigning on that, proposing cash payments for the poor that proved popular in the past under Ahmadinejad.

The focus of the final debate was on the economy as the candidates, who are all male, outlined their vision for Iran's future.

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