Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei arrives to delivers a speech during a meeting with military commanders in Tehran, Iran, February 7, 2017. Leader.ir/Handout via REUTERS.
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Iran's president must do more to improve the economy, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday in a rare public criticism from the supreme leader three months before Hassan Rouhani runs for re-election.Rouhani, who secured relief from economic sanctions in exchange for checks on Iran's nuclear program, may face a hard-line candidate in May's election who could swing the Islamic Republic back away from such international engagement for which Khamenei has never expressed huge enthusiasm.Khamenei's comments could give hard-liners, who have not yet named an election candidate, a green light to more harshly criticize Rouhani.Reform-minded voters, many of whom supported Rouhani as well as Mousavi and Karoubi, are likely to see Khamenei's comment as aimed at them.
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