Hardline prosecutor emerges as main challenger to Iran's Rouhani

Hardline prosecutor emerges as main challenger to Iran's RouhaniBy Bozorgmehr Sharafedin LONDON (Reuters) – Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, seen as pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani’s main challenger in a May 19 election, is a close ally of Iran’s supreme leader and despises the West. Raisi is a mid-ranking figure in the hierarchy of Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim clergy but has been a senior official for decades in the judiciary which enforces clerical control of the country. The former prosecutor-general may struggle for recognition among voters, though analysts say Raisi, thanks to the support he enjoys from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, could pose a real challenge to Rouhani’s bid for a second term.



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