Final campaigning is underway in Iran, ahead of Friday’s elections for parliament and the body that will choose the country’s next supreme leader.
Allies of President Hassan Rouhani hope to gain influence. But moves by hardliners to block moderate candidates – and disillusion over Rouhani’s stalled reforms – do not make it easy for them.
Reformist candidates are upbeat.
“Looking at past experience. Fortunately, we have been successful in different spheres, including the economy sphere. God willing we will continue along the same path,” said reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref.
Last year’s nuclear deal lifted crippling sanctions and created hope of an economic upturn and higher living standards.
Conservatives are putting the economy at the heart of their campaigning.
“Because we believe that today the country’s big problem is economic problems and the future parliament should deal with that,” said candidate Gholam Ali Hadad Alel.
The hardline Guardian Council, which vets candidates and laws, has blocked thousands of mostly moderate hopefuls from standing in the parliamentary election.
It has also barred almost 80 percent of candidates in the poll for the Assembly of Experts, which will eventually choose the successor of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.