Rouhani, Raeisi in heated race to win over voters in Mashhad
On the last day of campaigning for Iran’s 12th presidential election, the two main rivals gearing up for a head-to-head battle, Hassan Rouhani and Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, are revving up their campaigns in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
Incumbent President Rouhani arrived in Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi province, on Wednesday afternoon, and addressed his supporters in Takhti Stadium.
Concurrent with Rouhani’s campaigning, Raeisi, the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), also addressed his supporters in his home town.
Two days before the election, the campaigning of the two main contenders is seen as a last-ditch effort to win over undecided voters.
Unemployment and economic woes have centered the agenda of the candidates.
Rouhani said his administration had managed to take back Iran’s oil market that had been under the control of Saudis.
“You gave our oil market to Saudi Arabia. We retook it,” he said.
Rouhani added that his next administration would continue to seek progress and peace for the country.
The incumbent president also urged his supporters in Mashhad to choose between deceit and honesty in the Friday vote.
Meanwhile, Raeisi held Rouhani’s administration accountable for the economic problems facing the country.
He pledged to address the issue of unemployment in particular, saying, “We will promote job creation and create one million jobs annually while maintaining people’s dignity.”
Over 56 million Iranians eligible to vote can cast their ballots in more than 65,000 ballot boxes across the country in the Friday election, according to Iran’s Interior Ministry. Iranian expats will also be able to vote in more than a hundred countries.
Originally, six candidates were approved to contest the election, namely Rouhani, Raeisi, Es’haq Jahangiri, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemi-Taba.
The six attended three live televised debates to elaborate on their plans and agendas on different issues, including political, economic and cultural fields.
Into the last days of campaigning, Qalibaf and Jahangiri pulled out of the race in support of Raeisi and Rouhani respectively.
Earlier in the day, Aqa-Mirsalim (seen below), who is accompanying Raeisi during the campaign in Mashhad, gave a press conference in Tehran on Wednesday, saying he would not withdraw from the race unlike fellow contenders, but will respect the vote of the people.
“I will remain in the race until the end of the election. Whatever the choice of the people, I will respect their vote,” he said.
Aqa-Mirsalim added that he stepped into the race after having analyzed the current situation of the country.