All Eyes On Iran For Friday’s Election — Religious Hard-liner Mounts Challenge to Rouhani — Iran’s Presidential Race

Peace and Freedom

Voters choose Friday between candidates with conflicting visions—President Hassan Rouhani, who has made an opening to the West, and a political newcomer wary of where such a path leads

Posters of Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric, being passed out in April in Tehran.Credit Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

Updated May 17, 2017 12:04 p.m. ET

TEHRAN—President Hassan Rouhani faces a hard-line opponent in a national vote Friday that is shaping up as one of the most contentious and consequential elections since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979.

The contest puts before Iranian voters two candidates with conflicting visions for the country—Mr. Rouhani, who has made an opening to the West, and a political newcomer wary of where such a path leads.

Ebrahim Raisi, a 56-year-old cleric with close ties to Iran’s supreme leader, has emerged as a tougher-than-expected challenger, taking advantage of…

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