Incumbent Iranian President Rouhani to run for second term

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Rohani negotiated the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers previous year, but some disappointment that the accord has not spurred economic growth has boosted the opposition against him. "Iran is a powerful country and people like Mr. Trump or the United States administration can not hurt Iran", he said. And the website's figures for the year 2016 are actually lower than those reported by some other human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, which finds that at least 567 people were put to death by the government that year.

"His advice does not prevent me from running", he said.

The Iranian president said that revival of social ethics and the rights of citizenship, transparency as well as free circulation of information would still be on the agenda of his program for the next term of presidency, if elected. "We'll continue down our path until the end", Rouhani said.

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President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the deal on the promise that better ties with the West would help improve Iran's economy, is expected to seek re-election.

"Despite all the efforts of previous governments, the situation of the country is such that people ask why is there so much unemployment?"

The conservative opposition remains divided, but attention has lately focused on hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, 56, who runs the powerful Imam Reza charitable foundation.

He was also Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran in 1980s and 1990s.

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Rouhani is also a member of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, two influential advisory bodies in Iran's multi-tiered power structure. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he does not view recent US missile strikes on ally Syria as a message for Iran, which he called a "powerful country" that the USA can not harm. Just when it appeared Ahmadinejad would be leaving, he turned around and returned to the Interior Ministry's registration desk, pulling out his identification documents with a flourish in front of a melee of shouting journalists.

Rouhani has vowed to remain loyal to the nuclear deal.

A third prominent contender is the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has emphasised his concern for the poor, and is seen as a close ally of the supreme leader.

Born into a religious family in 1948, the mid-ranking Shi'ite cleric played an active role in the opposition that overthrew the US -backed Shah in 1979.

But despite months of talks, hardliners have been unable to unite behind a single candidate, and Khamenei has not yet intervened to make them do so.

Rouhani has on several occasions called for massive turnout in the elections slated for May 19.