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In final day before vote, Rouhani lashes out at Iran’s hard-liners

In his final campaign speech, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued criticisms of his main conservative rival, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Basij and state TV.
A girl holds posters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, May 17, 2017. Picture taken  May 17, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTX36BFD

With the exception of the third presidential debate in which candidates accused each other of lying and corruption, this year’s Iranian presidential election has been relatively calm in comparison to the last two elections. No one has attempted to disclose secrets about a candidate’s wife, and the country’s longtime nuclear negotiator was not suddenly criticized for his intransigence, breaking a longstanding taboo of not debating foreign policy. But the relative calm of this year’s election changed May 17 when President Hassan Rouhani issued one of his harshest criticisms of the country’s conservative unelected bodies and his main conservative rival.

Without mentioning his name, Rouhani criticized the policies of Ebrahim Raisi, who is the head of Astan-e Quds Razavi, Iran’s largest foundation that is linked to the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, the holiest site in Iran for Shiite Muslims. In his criticism, Rouhani also included Raisi’s father-in-law, Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, who is the Friday prayer leader in Mashhad and who has publicly endorsed his son-in-law. “You want to manage the country?” Rouhani asked of both Alamolhoda and Raisi. “First tell me how did you manage Mashhad?”

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