Tue May 16, 2017 05:43AM
Iranian presidential candidates Hassan Rouhani (R), Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim (2nd-R), Is’haq Jahangiri (2nd-L), and Ebrahim Raeisi
Iranian presidential candidates Hassan Rouhani (R), Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim (2nd-R), Is’haq Jahangiri (2nd-L), and Ebrahim Raeisi

Iranian presidential candidates continue electioneering three days before the vote.

On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani, who is re-running for office, traveled to the northwestern city of Zanjan for a stump speech.

“Four years ago, we decided to show Iran’s true face to the world. The Iranian people are peace-loving people,” the Iranian chief executive said, referring to his administration’s signature efforts to engage in better interaction with the international community.

He said, “We want [commercial] vessels to bear the Iranian flag and [we want to] acquire the markets of the world.”

“We do not countenance Iran’s isolation. We do not countenance Iran being sanctioned.”

Earlier, on Monday, President Rouhani addressed people in the city of Tabriz, where he lambasted those seeking to “build a wall between Iran and the world,” and said, “We are in favor of peace, not walls.”

“Should the Iranian nation worry every day about when the country is to face a new sanctions resolution, or should it await a new reprieve in their lives?” he said.

The incumbent said people should turn out at polling stations on Friday to salute morality, honesty, hope, reforms, and moderation.

Also on Monday, he traveled to the northern Mazandaran Province and urged the people there to choose interaction with the world over confrontation during the election.

Jahangiri endorses President Rouhani

Meanwhile, First Vice President Is’haq Jahangiri, who has been campaigning as a close associate of President Rouhani, on Tuesday asked his supporters to vote for the incumbent, describing the sitting president’s plans to govern the country as “comprehensive.”

Speaking in the city of Yasouj, Jahangiri said Iran needed a president who could draw up on the country’s entire capabilities and rally all political factions, elites, scholars, and others to help bring about development.

He also said that Iran was in need of a president who could well manage the economy and engage in strong diplomacy to eliminate the threat of war.

He said President Rouhani met all the criteria for the kind of president that was needed at the current point in time.

Jahangiri, who is expected to drop out of the race in favor of Rouhani, said in a televised interview earlier on Monday that the priority of the next administration would be to speed up tangible economic growth and a fight against corruption that would be bound by no red lines.

He said there were up to three million unemployed people in Iran and 950,000 jobs were needed each year as per the government's economic plans. He said an economic growth rate of eight percent, if achieved, would hugely contribute to job creation.

Jahangiri also promised continued “powerful diplomacy and interaction” with the world toward improving the country’s economic situation.

As many as 3,000 science-based companies have been created under the current government, he said.

Raeisi seeks to cash ‘the Iran deal check’

Ebrahim Raeisi, another candidate, who has served in different capacities at the Iranian Judiciary, addressed crowds of supporters in the city of Isfahan. There, he said that the Islamic Republic’s 2015 nuclear deal with world countries — negotiated by and considered a landmark legacy of President Rouhani’s administration — had not been used to as much advantage as it could have.

He said a “revolutionary administration” was needed to cash the “check of the deal.”

Turning to the economy, he said, “The situation should neither return to how it used to be, nor should it be tolerated as it is.”

Separately, he said “a favorable attitude” toward foreign governments was wrongful but added that his potential government would engage in “interaction with all countries, especially neighbors, while retaining its authority and status.”

Aqa-Mirsalim vows govt. of the youth

Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, a member of Iran’s Expediency Council running for presidency, said his potential administration would be full of “strong, experienced, and vibrant” youths.

He also vowed the provision of affordable housing for young couples, saying that such affordability should not be mistaken for low quality, and that the government had to offer free land for housing operations benefiting the youths.

Two other candidates, namely Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and former vice president Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, have effectively stood down in favor of, respectively, Raeisi and President Rouhani.

Qalibaf has asked his supporters to shift their backing to Raeisi but has not explicitly indicated an official withdrawal from the race. Hashemi-Taba has likewise said he would himself vote for President Rouhani but would not quit the race.