Veteran Iranian politician, Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri has resigned from his post in Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office to join President Hassan Rouhani's election campaign.
The presidential race has since narrowed to a two-horse race as the other candidates either pulled out or called on their supporters to back Rouhani or Raisi.
The two squared off last week in a fiery televised debate, the third and final such event ahead of the May 19 vote.
Iranian expatriates in 104 countries will be able to vote in the presidential election. And Raisi did not leave any chance to bash Rouhani in the presidential debates while mentioning this slow economic growth. According to video clips from Iran, the pictures were accompanied by slogans such as "No to murderer Raisi, no to imposter Rouhani, Our vote: Regime overthrow".
"Poverty has increased with this government from 23 percent to 33 percent", said Raisi. Rouhani asked. He also accused Raisi of using Astan-e Quds Razavi for his campaign.
Iran has a big middle-income economy with a large industrialised sector, but largely because of those sanctions it has been in the doldrums for the past decade. Yet the supreme leader is traditionally expected to remain above the fray of day-to-day politics, and Khamenei has generally limited his comments about the election to calling for strong voter turnout.
When he was swept to office four years ago with three times as many votes as his nearest challenger, Iranians held high hopes that he could fulfill his promises to reduce the country's isolation overseas and bring more freedoms at home.
President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, is seeking re-election i.
In December previous year, when the members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-members including Russian Federation agreed on the first oil output cuts since 2008, Iran was exempted on the grounds that the country had severe economic losses under the sanctions so that it had to be allowed to boost oil production.
The main challenger Raisi is a close ally and protege of Khamenei, and was one of four Islamic judges who ordered the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Khamenei, meanwhile, criticized as "unworthy" the hostile exchanges between rival candidates in Friday's presidential election.
Although he had little public profile before this election cycle, Raisi is a veteran of the upper reaches of the Iranian power structures.
These penalties have made foreign companies reluctant to establish presence in Iran. The effects of these moves are not yet clear: Rouhani can tout the nuclear deal as an achievement of his first term, but the hints of animosity from Washington may end up boosting Iranian voters' support for the more belligerent faction. Though he has been endorsed by the leaders of the 2009 Green Movement, Mr.Rouhani failed to deliver on his promise to have those leaders released from years of house arrest.
"With Trump in power in the United States, that seems very doubtful", Mousavi said.
Rouhani told his hardline opponents they were not equipped to continue his diplomatic efforts.
Yet, Iran's unemployment rate past year climbed 1.4 percent, to 12.4 percent, even though the economy added 600,000 jobs in 2016. Railing against the worldwide financial industry, Mr. Raisi called on Iranians to rely on themselves - to reactivate the industrial engine of growth in order to capitalize on Iran's educated work force. Raisi has campaigned on this and proposes cash payments to the poor.
Many of Rouhani's supporters realize he is not intent on some sort of 'Tehran Spring.' But Maloney says they do see him as the best hope for a more open economy, which in turn will bring political and social change.