"There are two leading political camps at the moment: supporters of Hassan Rouhani, the current head of the government, and Ebrahim Raisi. Other scenarios are also possible," the analyst said, adding that nothing could be predicted with complete certainty at this point. "For instance, [former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance] Mostafa Mir-Salim and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf have a chance to take part in the second round of voting since they are quite popular."
Last month, the Guardian Council of the Constitution approved a list of six candidates who are allowed to take part in the election scheduled to take place on May 19. These also include Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and former Vice President Mostafa Hashemitaba.
Mani Mehrabi described the upcoming election as a "landmark" event which has grabbed the attention of the entire nation. Iranians "have been deeply engrossed in the election campaign," he said.
This year economy tops the list of issues that worry Iranians.
"The main expectation is that burning issues, particularly inflation and unemployment, will be resolved. This year the slogan has been 'Economy of Resistance: Production and Employment.' Economic challenges have taken center stage in Iran since economy has an impact on all areas of our lives. This is why even political issues like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) hinge on economic concerns," the analyst said.
Unsurprisingly, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke about the Rouhani government's economic performance at length in his most important speech of the year given in late March. Khamenei lambasted the administration for not doing enough to curb inflation, boost employment, tackle discrimination and promote investment.
In a message posted on Twitter on April 19, Khamenei described Iran's economic capabilities as "a priority."
Today, economic capacity of the country is a priority. So I do emphasize on reducing costs of living of people.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) 19 апреля 2017 г.
"Some say since they took office the shadow of war has been faded away. This is not correct," he said. "It's been people's presence in the political scene that has removed the shadow of war from the country."
In a comment that seemed to have also been tacitly directed at Rouhani, Khamenei also asked all presidential candidates to promise Iranians that they will not "rely on foreigners" while working on resolving key issues facing the nations.
To candidates:— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) 25 апреля 2017 г.
Promise the people that for the progress of country, economic development & removing problems you won’t rely on foreigners.
Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!