A handout picture released by the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shows him speaking to his supporters in the city of Arak on October 23, 2016. / AFP / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY / HO
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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has clashed with the country's powerful and conservative judiciary, in a rare public row as tensions rise ahead of this year's presidential election. The moderate Rouhani, who is expected to stand for a second four-year term in the May vote, has targeted the judiciary in a series of public statements over the case of a billionaire businessman on death row for corruption.He rose to prominence after sanctions were imposed on Iran over its nuclear program, boasting in media interviews of finding ways around banking restrictions to ensure Tehran continued to receive money for international oil sales.In his speech, Rouhani appeared to suggest that the judiciary had not done enough against others potentially involved in the case or to recover funds embezzled by Zanjani.Last week Larijani hit back, defending the judiciary's handling of the case and criticizing the government for not doing enough to help track down missing funds.That claim appeared to raise the stakes in the dispute and prompted Rouhani to urge the judiciary disclose its own financial dealings.
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