An Iranian woman walks past election posters of President Hassan Rouhani, who is running for the presidential elections, in Tehran on April 23, 2017. / AFP / ATTA KENARE
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Election season is underway in Iran and the rumor mill is in overdrive as the public tries to divine the backroom machinations that have thrown up major surprises in the past.Rouhani, a moderate preacher with a long history in Iran's security apparatus, won the 2013 vote after the only other pro-reform candidate dropped out to boost his chances.Having overseen a slight easing in social restrictions and rebuilt relations with the West through the 2015 nuclear deal, Rouhani seemed like a shoo-in to win a second term at next month's election.In 2005, it was the turn of middle-class urbanites to be shocked: Few predicted the success of rabble-rousing populist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who now seems like an Iranian forerunner to U.S. President Donald Trump.Some say Raisi is being lined up as the next supreme leader, so everything will be done to ensure he is not embarrassed in the election.
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