Iranian voters will decide the fate of moderate President Hassan Rouhani and his policy of engagement with the West on Friday as he goes head-to-head with hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi. While Iranians largely welcomed the reduced tensions with the West, the ongoing economic slump has taken a toll on morale. Many voters, particularly wealthier urbanites, are still attracted to Rouhani's promise of greater social freedoms.
Iran chooses a new leader Friday, with moderate President Hassan Rouhani seeking a second term and facing hard-line conservatives who criticize the landmark nuclear deal with the West.
The result could have far-reaching diplomatic implications, especially since President Trump has threatened to dismantle the nuclear accord he called "the worst deal in history."
Last month, Trump ordered a review of the 2015 agreement.On Wednesday, the Trump administration extended the sanctions relief granted under the nuclear deal, but also imposed new economic penalties over Iranian ballistic missile activity. Both moves intend to show the Trump administration as being tough on Iran as it adheres to the nuclear deal for now.
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