Iran's six presidential candidates participated in a live debate on may 5th to discuss cultural and political issues. During the debate, the candidates introduced their plans in detail to the voters for the may vote
Incumbent Hassan Rouhani is seeking a second term in office. However, Rouhani faced harsh criticism over economic issues. Rouhani reached a nuclear deal with the West in 2015, which led to the lifting of most international sanctions against Iran in 2016 in exchange for curbing Tehran's nuclear programme.
During the debate, Rouhani defended the nuclear accord and its positive outcomes for Iran's economy and accused his political opponets of not being honest about the nuclear agreement.
"Nuclear agreement means all nuclear sanctions (sanctions related to Iranian nuclear program) are lifted. If you claim, there are still sanctions, say exactly which ones? Nuclear sanctions are all lifted, we are under various sanctions (unrelated to the nuclear issues). If this agreement hadn't been reached, our oil export that is two million barrels a day, would be two hundred thousand barrels today." Hassan Rouhani said in the debate.
Opponents of Rouhani claim that the diplomatic opening afforded by the nuclear deal has not yielded the benefits promised by President Rouhani. "Mr Rouhani asks what sanctions, sanctions on banks. It simple sir. Send a cargo of oil to India now, or any other country, and then bring the money into the country. If the money came (was transferred) into the country, it means the sanctions are lifted? It's not that complicated." Presidential candidate, Ebrahim Raisi, said in a statatement.
Rouhani is supported by reformists and is expected to win the presidential election on may 19th, which will shape the Islamic Republic's economic and domestic policy for years to come.