TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Up to 55 million Iranians will vote Friday in a presidential election that has economic fallout from the American-backed nuclear deal at its heart.
While President Hassan Rouhani has been successful in slashing Iran's inflation and encouraging economic growth, his critics say the nuclear deal has not prompted better living standards for ordinary Iranians.
Unemployment has risen to 11% in the oil-rich country and is estimated to be far higher for under-25s, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The economy has been a point of contention between Rouhani and many Iranians, who have criticized the president for relying on foreign investment.
For many working-class Iranians, the initial hope of the nuclear deal has faded too.
The nuclear deal didn't yield the results they expected. Of course, Iranians for the most part old Trump's America culpable for trying to undermine the process.
The victor would shape Iran's future direction and its involvement in military conflicts in Syria and elsewhere.
On Wednesday, Raisi praised all Iranian ethnic and religious groups as "assets” of the Islamic Republic, vowing that he would seek their contribution to his administration if he wins the presidency.
"Iranian ethnic and religious groups are an inseparable part of the country’s history and land,” Raisi said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
He emphasized that an "instrumental approach” should not be adopted in dealing with people of ethnicity and minority religious groups.
The cleric went on to say that they should be treated in such a way that they maintain a strong sense of being Iranian.
"It is my belief that Iranian ethnic and religious groups can play an equal role in the development and progress of the country,” the presidential hopeful said, adding that their talents should be utilized in the country’s management.
Raisi, who is the chief custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad, has been campaigning for the upcoming presidential election along with three other candidates, namely Rouhani, Mostafa Hashemitaba, and Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim.
During the previous presidential election in June 2013, Rouhani garnered 50.7% of a total of over 36 million votes.
According to Ali Asghar Ahmadi, the head of the Interior Ministry’s State Elections Committee, a total of 56,410,234 Iranians can cast their ballots in the election this year.