In pics: Iranians take the streets as high-stakes vote goes down to wire | world-news | Hindustan Times
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In pics: Iranians take the streets as high-stakes vote goes down to wire

Working against Rouhani is a sense among many Iranians that the 2015 nuclear deal, which saw Iran accept limits on its atomic energy program, has failed to deliver an economic windfall.

world Updated: May 18, 2017 17:45 IST
Supporters of Iranian President and election candidate Hassan Rouhani distribute brochures ahead of the Iranian presidential election in the streets of the capital Tehran on May 17, 2017.
Supporters of Iranian President and election candidate Hassan Rouhani distribute brochures ahead of the Iranian presidential election in the streets of the capital Tehran on May 17, 2017.(AFP)

As Tehran’s notorious traffic slowed, the waiting campaigners pounced, pushing posters with the smiling face of Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, through the open windows of trapped cars, pleading for votes and shouting slogans as drivers edged away.

They were determined to make every minute count in the last days of a campaign in which Rouhani began as favourite, but has ended locked in a bitter and close-run fight with a conservative rival.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani staked his political future on opening Iran ever so slightly to the outside world and overcoming hard-liners’ opposition to secure a historic nuclear deal in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

He’ll soon find out if voters think it’s enough to keep him in the job.

His supporters streamed into downtown Tehran streets thick with police for rallies that lasted into the early hours Thursday, just ahead of a 24-hour no-campaigning period before the vote. Wearing Rouhani’s signature purple on ribbons and loosely draped headscarves, they honked, cheered and chanted slogans in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, one of two Iranian opposition leaders under house arrest since 2011 who back Rouhani.

The rallies were largely peaceful even as Rouhani supporters faced off against smaller crowds supporting his main rival, hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, though police rushed reinforcements to break up Rouhani rallies that grew large enough to block traffic.

A girl holds posters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, May 17, 2017. Picture taken May 17, 2017. (REUTERS Photo)
A supporter of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, holds his poster as the other one holds a poster of his main rival Ebrahim Raisi during a street campaign. (AP Photo)
A supporter of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wears a T-shirt with his image as she attends a street campaign ahead the May 19 presidential election in downtown Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (AP Photo)
Supporters of Iranian President and election candidate Hassan Rouhani distribute brochures ahead of the Iranian presidential election in the streets of the capital Tehran on May 17, 2017. (AFP Photo)
Supporters of Iranian President and candidate elections Hassan Rouhani distribute brochures ahead of the Iranian presidential election in the streets of the capital Tehran on May 17, 2017. (AFP Photo)