Iran President defends his economic record
TEHRAN - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani defended his economic record in a press conference on Monday but stopped short of formally announcing his candidacy for next month's presidential election.
Rouhani pushed back against criticism from conservatives over his economic performance, saying there had been measurable improvements in agriculture, healthcare, energy and internet coverage, especially in villages and poor suburbs.
He also focused on his key achievement, a nuclear deal with world powers that ended some sanctions in return for limits to Iran's atomic programme.
"In every aspect that you consider, figures tell us that after the (nuclear deal), there is more space for movement and progress," he said.
Rouhani is expected to run for a second term on May 19, but said this press conference was "not about elections".
"We need to wait two or three more days," he said.
Registration for the elections begins tomorrow and will continue until Saturday.
Sitting presidents in Iran are expected to be modest about their ambitions, and to refrain from using state television as a campaigning platform.