Iran's President Rouhani: 'Iran will ask no soul's permission to build missiles'

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has registered to run in the upcoming presidential elections in May on the fourth day of the registration period which ends on Saturday evening.

The former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who served two terms between 2005 and 2013, registered as a candidate on Tuesday.

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"From today, protecting the nuclear deal is one of my main plans in political and economic fields", he said, alluding to US President Donald Trump's dislike of the pact reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, and also to Iranian hardliners who opposed Rouhani's pursuit of detente with the West.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has registered to run for office again in elections next month.

Every president since the early 1980s has won a second term, and Rouhani has done much to maintain his alliance of moderates and reformists - stabilising the economy and signing a landmark nuclear deal with world powers that ended many sanctions and promised a fresh start with the global community.

Democracy and democratic elections are attainable by reference to the people's vote and respect to the law, he told reporters.

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A presidential by-election is scheduled here for May 9 as former President Park Geun-hye was ousted from office on March 10. Asked what North Korea must do, he repeated that "all options are on the table, and there they will remain".

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei appears to not have intervened so far to force them to do so.

Rouhani also highlighted the importance of resistance. Security forces answering only to the supreme leader also routinely arrest dual nationals and foreigners, using them as pawns in global negotiations.

Ahmadinejad gave reserved support for the 2015 deal with the U.S., commonly referred to as the Iranian nuclear deal.

The conservative opposition remains divided, but attention has lately focused on hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, 56, who runs the powerful Imam Reza charitable foundation.

His father-in-law leads Friday prayers in Mashhad and both have seats on the Assembly of Experts that will choose the next supreme leader - a position for which Raisi himself is often rumoured to be in the running.

Speaking at a defense ministry event to show off new Iranian-made weapons, Rouhani claimed that the country's development of ballistic missiles and other advanced arms is strictly for defensive purposes. The applicants will then be vetted by the Guardian Council to receive approval. In addition to Ahmadinejad, Rouhani is likely to face a strong challenge from cleric Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who can attract conservative voters from Iran's provinces. The 12-member Guardian Council, which scrutinizes the candidates, was to announce on April 26, 2017, which candidates it determined were qualified to run.

Other reports by VgToday

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