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Hardliners on ascent ahead of Iran’s presidential poll

With less than a month until Iran’s presidential election, expectations are rising that a hardline candidate will succeed moderate incumbent Hassan Rouhani, a political shift rife with implications for the Islamic Republic’s relations with the West.

Several high-profile politicians have registered as candidates, though the aspirants are unlikely to galvanize an unenthusiastic electorate disillusioned with politics amid Rouhani’s failure to deliver on his campaign vow to end Iran’s international isolation and get economic sanctions lifted.

Progress toward both goals unraveled with former US president Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015. With lukewarm support for moderates then the order of the day, the political pendulum is now swinging back toward the conservative camp.