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Rohani Says Iran Faces ‘Historic Decision’ In Upcoming Presidential Poll

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has told a Tehran crowd of some 20,000 supporters that the country is “on the edge of a great historic decision” with its May 19 presidential election.

Rohani, 68, told the crowd at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium that “we should not let Iran become isolated again.”

Rohani is seeking a second four-year term. He is currently facing five rivals, but some could withdraw in favor of more prominent candidates.

The president is viewed as the “moderate” choice and many see the election as something of a referendum on the policies that led to a landmark deal with international powers that saw Tehran curb its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

The crowd at Rohani’s rally sometimes chanted the names of Mir Hossein Mosavi and Mehdi Karrubi, both popular reformist candidates from the 2009 presidential election who were placed under house arrest in 2011.

They also chanted the name of Mohammad Khatami, who was the country’s president from 1997 to 2005, but who has since been banned from any appearances in the Iranian media.

Also on May 13, Rohani was endorsed by Molavi Abdol Hamid, a leading figure among Iranian Sunni Muslims, who comprise 5-10 percent of the population.

Rohani’s main rivals are Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and cleric Ebrahim Raisi.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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