Iran

Hard-line Iranian candidate says US should fear Iran

An Iranian holds up a poster of Iranian cleric Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative presidential candidate in the upcoming presidential election, at a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

An Iranian holds up a poster of Iranian cleric Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative presidential candidate in the upcoming presidential election, at a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A hard-line candidate in Iran's upcoming presidential election says the United States should be made to fear Iran so that it will back off on sanctions and threats.

Ebrahim Raisi told a state TV talk show Wednesday that "today Americans are afraid of the word 'Iran,'" saying: "This is the solution. The solution is not backing down. We must force them to retreat."

Raisi is challenging the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has tried to improve relations with the West and whose government reached a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers.

Iran's hard-liners criticized the deal, saying Rouhani gave too much away.

Rouhani is widely seen as the front-runner in next month's election, but Raisi is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.