World Bulletin / News Desk
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani registered on Friday for next month's election, facing a tougher-than-expected battle thanks to widespread criticism over his handling of the economy.
He retains the support of moderate and reformist lawmakers for taming inflation and reaching a landmark nuclear deal with world powers that ended many sanctions.
Frequently described as a moderate, Rouhani has served as president of the republic since winning 2013 polls.
But disappointment with the 68-year-old's administration is palpable on the streets of Iran.
Unemployment is stuck at 12 percent, the promised billions in foreign investment have not materialised, and he has failed to ease social restrictions or release political prisoners, including reformist leaders under house arrest for their part in 2009 protests.
After registering for the election at the interior ministry, Rouhani pushed back against hardliners who have criticised the nuclear deal and his efforts to reach out to the West.
"The preservation of the (nuclear deal) is one of the most important political and economic issues in the Iranian nation. The stepmothers who repeatedly tried to kill this baby cannot be good custodians for it," he told reporters.
He said an "unprecedented" $20 billion worth of new projects would be announced next week, which would also see gas production at the South Pars field surpass that of Qatar -- which shares the field -- for the first time.
That follows government plans, outlined this week, to triple or even quadruple cash hand-outs to the poor -- a move immediately criticised by opponents as a transparent attempt to buy votes.
According to Iran’s official electoral commission, more than 860 people have registered their candidacies since the registration process began on Tuesday.
Iran’s 2017 presidential polls will coincide with municipal and local council elections, as well as partial elections for Iran’s Shura Council (parliament) in some cities.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Nisan 2017, 09:26