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The six candidates cleared by the constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, to contest the Iranian elections on 19 May are focusing their campaign on the state of the economy.
Hassan Rohani, the incumbent reformist president who is seeking a second four-year term, continues to remind the electorate of his administration’s achievements in taming inflation from over 40% before his election in 2013 to single digit figures and in boosting growth. Latest Central Bank of Iran (CBI) data put inflation at 9%, whilst the IMF says Iran’s economy grew at a brisk 6.5% last year.
But hardline conservatives dismiss these economic achievements, maintaining that Mr Rohani has failed to deliver on the promised benefits from the nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers ( MEES, 17 July 2015 ). These hardliners echo the position of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who is lukewarm about Mr Rohani’s positive achievements in the past four years and his attempts to open up the economy to western investment. (CONTINUED - 1021 WORDS)