US relations: Iran's Islamic leaders quickly rejected President Barack Obama's offer to open dialogue, but left open room for possible talks in the future. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has proposed a "debate" with Obama at the United Nations. The leading pro-reform candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has said he would seek better relations with the US and try to soften Iran's image around the world.
Nuclear Program: Iran's ruling clerics have given no signals they are willing to suspend uranium enrichment, which the United States and allies fear could lead to development of atomic weapons. Iran insists it only seeks peaceful reactors for electricity. Ahmadinejad has said uranium enrichment and nuclear power is Iran's non-negotiable 'right.' Mousavi has floated the idea of an international consortium overseeing uranium enrichment in Iran. All candidates have supported Iran's right to pursue a peaceful nuclear technology.
Regional Relations: Both Israel and Sunni Arab states are worried about Shiite Iran's efforts to expand influence in the Middle East, including its advancements in long-range missiles and support for the militant groups Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. Ahmadinejad has given no signs of moderating his views on Iran's regional affairs. Mousavi says one of his top priorities will be to improve relations with Iran's neighbors and has criticized Ahmadinejad's foreign policies as provocative. No candidates in Iran offers any concessions on Israel, which Iran does not recognize.
Economy: Iran has vast oil and gas reserves, but its economy has struggled under mismanagement, rising inflation and the effects of international sanctions. Ahmadinejad has promised to share Iran's oil wealth with poorer Iranians and bring other government-backed programs to help stimulate the economy. Mousavi says he won't follow a "charity policy" and favors more private enterprise and using Iran's oil revenues as a foundation to bring investments.