President Rouhani files paperwork for second-term
TEHRAN – President Rouhani filed paperwork on Friday to seek a second-term in Iran’s May 19 presidential election, two days after former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stunned the country with his election bid.
“Today, I have come again to run for Iran, for Islam,” he said after submitting his name for the vote.
He also launched a strong defense of his economic gains, saying it is “unprecedented” over the past 25 years, pledging more economic “transparency”, “freedom and security” and “constructive interaction” with the global community if he becomes president.
Rouhani also said a progressive and developed Iran would be the main goal of the next administration, adding that maintaining national security has been among the most important objectives of his administration.
Winning more than 50 percent of a 36.7-million turnout in the 2013 presidential election, Rouhani engineered the 2015 international nuclear deal with world power which removed crippling economic sanctions against the country.
In his Friday comments, he called the deal “a child or an infant” which needs to be well taken care of in the future.
The administration has particularly devoted substantial energy to curbing inflation, vital for the ailing economy which indicated signs of a rebound on the back of the nuclear deal.
The country’s inflation declined to single digits and has hovered in the 9.5 percent range, year-on-year, since mid-2016.
It is expected to temporarily rise to 11.9 percent by end-2017/18, reflecting recent liquidity growth and pass-through from exchange rate depreciation, before returning to single digits on the back of prudent fiscal and monetary policies.
Rouhani, however, has been long the target of criticism of some principlist opponents, who say the country has been slow in reaping the benefits of the nuclear accord.
Banking ties with the international community still face bottlenecks and the prospect is far from certain.
Early March, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chided the country's sluggish economic recovery despite the lifting of sanctions, calling upon the government to champion greater self-sufficiency.
Rouhani’s main challenger Ebrahim Raisi also filled out on Friday.
Implicitly criticizing the incumbent administration for economic problems and unemployment, Raisi said he will support domestic manufacturing and public involvement in economic activities.
“We can build an economy which secures the people against shakeups,” he told a pool of reporters after the registration.
Raisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), also rejected doubts over his administrative experiences, saying, “I have management experience of more than three decades.”
“In the current situation, there is room for change. Approaches should be modified.”