Each of Iran’s six presidential candidates committed Friday to uphold a nuclear deal with world powers should he win the May 19 election, a vote widely seen as a potential referendum on the accord’s benefits for average Iranians.

The statements of support came during a debate that was broadcast live on Iranian state television, the second of three scheduled for the short campaign season. President Hassan Rouhani, whose government negotiated the deal in exchange for sanctions relief, is facing five challengers. His critics have blasted the agreement, whose signatories include the United States, saying it has failed to usher in economic prosperity.

And he challenged his opponents — including hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi and Tehran’s conservative mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf — to clarify their positions on the issue. “The candidates today should tell people in a straightforward manner what they plan to do” about the agreement, Rouhani said.

 

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Featured image courtesy of EPA

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