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Iran's Rohani Defends Policies Ahead Of Presidential Vote

Iranian President Hassan Rohani

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has defended his policies ahead of the May 19 presidential election, in which the 68-year-old cleric is expected to run for a second term.

But at an April 10 press conference in Tehran that was shown on state television, Rohani stopped short of announcing his candidacy.

"If we wait for five days, we will see who’s entering the vote," Rohani said, referring to the April 11-15 registration period for candidates.

Rohani said that there has been measurable improvement in the economy, energy, health insurance, cultural issues, and Internet access.

He said his government has been working to improve life for the poor, the deprived, and marginalized segments of society.

Rohani dismissed his conservative critics as a “smoke machine” that disseminates “black smoke.”

“We shouldn’t paint the future as dark,” he said.