The two main contenders in Iran’s upcoming presidential elections have continued their campaign blitz as the race enters its final days. The ballot pits current ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Ahmadinejad’s election machine is pulling out all the stops to win a second term. Portraying himself as a man of the people, a recent campaign broadcast showed him spending time in his garden. Ahmadinejad is close to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and his supporters applaud his firebrand anti-American style which has included denying the Holocaust and defending Iran’s nuclear programme. But, in a bitter campaign, his main rival Mousavi has slammed his opponent’s handling of the faltering economy, as well as Tehran’s relations with the West. In a country with huge oil reserves, many people remain poor. At a recent rally, Mousavi declared, ‘‘Instead of working for the people and controlling inflation, you (Ahmadinejad) fabricate false files against them.’‘ Despite Iran having no credible opinion polls, Friday’s election is expected to be close.