ISTANBUL — Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, has delivered rare rebukes in recent days to the country’s powerful Shiite clergy and allied security forces, lashing out at rivals and their hard-line backers ahead of his reelection bid next week.
At rallies across Iran, Rouhani has blasted his opponents as “extremists” and criticized authorities for the detention of reformist leaders. On Monday, he attacked rival Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric and former judicial official, for a record of “execution and imprisonment.”
Rouhani also questioned the tax-exempt status of a charitable foundation linked to Iran’s supreme leader and suggested in a televised debate Friday that Iran’s most influential security institution, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, tried to sabotage the 2015 nuclear deal he struck with world powers.
The comments came as the three-week-long presidential campaign entered its final stretch, with voting scheduled for May 19.
The remarks “are certainly a bold move that indicate a decision to forgo the calm tone of his campaign,” said Reza H. Akbari, program manager at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Washington, where he researches Iranian politics.
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