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Do Iran's conservatives have a foreign policy agenda?

While Iran's 2013 presidential election focused primarily on foreign policy issues, this year's election is all about the economy.
Iranian Presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a campaign meeting at the Mosalla mosque in Tehran, Iran, May 16, 2017. REUTERS/TIMA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTX363P5

Iranian presidential candidates are wrapping up their final days of campaigning as the May 19 vote draws near. The economy has taken center stage this year, in contrast to the 2013 election, when the presidential debates focused on foreign policy and nuclear negotiations.

Indeed, none of the three televised debates in recent weeks were devoted to foreign policy. Instead, the candidates discussed foreign policy alongside domestic policy and cultural issues in the second debate, which aired May 5 on Iranian state television. The candidates have also seemed uninterested in foreign policy matters in their broader campaigning. Apart from incumbent Hassan Rouhani, whose four-year report card is a clear indication of his foreign policy performance, his key rival Ebrahim Raisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of the eighth Shiite Imam, appears lost in this field.

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