Middle East

Iran's president attacks rival's background in judiciary

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says voters in this month's presidential election do not want someone who is only familiar with "execution and imprisonment," an apparent criticism of a hard-line rival who is a longtime judge.

The semi-official ISNA news agency says Rouhani did not name any of his five election rivals in the campaign speech Monday, but appeared to be referring to Ebrahim Raisi, who is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Rouhani is running for re-election as a moderate who will push for improved relations with the West and greater freedoms within Iran.

His administration struck a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, but his push for expanded liberties has been fiercely resisted by hard-liners, who dominate Iran's judiciary and security services.