Campaigning for Iran's presidential election kicking off on Friday with a television debate for the hopeful candidates. The main hardline conservative challenger and three others will take on current President Hassan Rouhani on the 19th of May. The incumbent secured Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers in 2015, ending years of international isolation.
But critics, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that despite sanctions against Tehran being lifted as part of the deal, the economic payoff has been limited. Reuters' is covering this story from Ankara.>> Rouhani has defended his economic policy, saying that Iran should continue its detente with the West and the world.
To attract investors and improve its economy. However, Khamenei a few days ago called on candidates to get less engaged with the and not to rely on foreign investment for reviving the economy.>> Official unemployment is just over 12%. But independent analysts put it around 20%. Many foreign investors have been put off by the poor state of banks, the state's big role in the economy, and a lack of clarity about the legal system.
>> Many Iranians who voted for Rouhani in 2013, are disappointed over his failure to improve their living standards and to create the more liberal society. However analysts believe that they will vote again for Rouhani, despite being disappointed, because they fear a hardliner taking over the position. And that means more restrictions on social and cultural issues.
>> Iran's President mostly manages domestic affairs and can influence foreign policy decisions. But overall state policy is agreement of Khamenei, he's the one who wields decisive power across the government, military and security services and warily endorsed the 2015 nuclear settlement.