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Nuclear deal is an issue in Iran’s election

One man is stoking fear over Iran’s presidential election — and the nuclear deal 5/4/2017 CNBC, May 3, 2017 – Supporters of Iranian cleric and presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi vawe Iranian flags during Raisi’s electoral rally prior to presidential elections in Tehran, Iran on April 29, 2017.

The likely successor to Iran’s supreme leader has entered the country’s presidential election, and that’s throwing a lot into question.

Many still expect President Hassan Rouhani to win another term when Iranians go to the polls on May 19. But the emergence of Ebrahim Raisi as the conservative favorite has tightened the race and raised concerns about oil, a historic nuclear deal, and the fragile reopening of the Iranian market.

Raisi was an unknown until he rose to prominence last year when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei named him the custodian of an important Shiite shrine. The move sparked speculation that Raisi is in line to succeed the 77-year old supreme leader.

A hardline victory this month would put conservatives on a collision course with a combative Trump administration, endangering the 2015 agreement that put limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Hanging in the balance is Iran’s oil production, which has grown by roughly a million barrels a day since sanctions were lifted. So too are investment plans by energy giants to develop the country’s massive oil and gas reserves, and billions in aircraft sales by companies including Boeing.

More broadly, the election represents a choice between joining the global economy under Rouhani — who spearheaded the nuclear deal — and the so-called ‘resistance economy’ championed by hardliners, which is designed to protect politically connected domestic businesses.

Khamenei has not publicly backed Raisi, but generals from the influential Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps paid the candidate an official visit, cementing the view that he is the ayatollah’s choice.
Raisi could backfire on hardliners……..

The election will depend on the economy and whether voters feel the benefits of the nuclear deal have trickled down to them, in Eurasia Group’s view.

Rouhani has restored a sense of security by preventing hyperinflation and shortages, but unemployment remains high, particularly among young people.

Following the nuclear deal, oil is flowing more freely, but there is a sense that Rouhani’s promise of prosperity has not come to pass.

‘He’s not being hit on the nuclear deal,’ Vatanka said. ‘He’s being hit on how he oversold it.’



May 5, 2017 - Posted by | Iran, politics

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