Iran is voting for president in a broadly consequential election Friday

Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi votes
(Image credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranians are choosing Friday between four presidential candidates, but the race is really between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, 68, a moderate cleric, and his hardline main opponent, Ebrahim Raisi, 56 (pictured). No Iranian president has lost a re-election bid since 1981, but Raisi has put together a coalition of religious conservatives and populist isolationists that makes him a serious contender. He is also seen as the favored candidate of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, though Khamenei did not endorse anyone in the race.

The election is expected to have a lasting impact on Iran's relationship with the West, especially with regard to the nuclear deal Rouhani negotiated with the U.S. and other world powers. If Raisi wins, he is expected to scrap the deal, and will also likely become the frontrunner to replace Khamenei, who is 70 and in poor health. In Iran, presidents have real power but it is subject to approval from the ayatollah, who is chosen by a clerical panel. Iran has 56 million eligible voters, and turnout should exceed 70 percent, athorities predict. Polls close at 6 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. EDT), though Iran typically keeps polls open for several hours past the scheduled cutoff.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.