Middle East

Iran's presidential candidates spar over nuclear deal

A hard-line candidate has challenged Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the nuclear deal with world powers during a televised debate, while the incumbent accused hard-liners of attempting to derail the accord.

The second of three debates before Iran's May 19 presidential election on Friday saw Rouhani accuse elements within Iran's Revolutionary Guard of trying to derail the deal with a missile launch.

Rouhani remains the favorite in the election as every Iranian president since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself took the presidency in 1981 has won re-election.

However, hard-liners hope Ebrahim Raisi, appointed in 2016 by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as head of Imam Reza charity foundation, which owns a huge business conglomerate and endowments across the country, can unseat Rouhani.