Editor's note: For more from this interview debating human rights in Iran, click here.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came into power in a landslide victory in 2013 on promises of reform and social and economic progress.

Although Rouhani's administration succeeded in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal, many Iranians have yet to see economic prosperity from the lifting of sanctions, with youth unemployment at nearly 30 percent.

So, with the economy as the primary concern for Iranians casting their ballot in the May 19 presidential election, will Rouhani manage to win a re-election against his two ultra-conservative challengers, in what has turned out to be a tighter race than expected?

"Elections in Iran are very important. The president has a great deal of power," says Iranian academic Mohammad Marandi. "According to polls, the overwhelming majority of Iranians are concerned about unemployment, and after that, it's wages."

"We have to understand that President Rouhani, again, as a prime minister in an absolute monarchy, is not in charge of the Iranian economy," says Maziar Bahari, editor of IranWire. "Many economic institutions in Iran, many industrial institutions in Iran are under the supervision, direct supervision of [Supreme Leader] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."

In this week's Arena, Iranian-Canadian journalist and human rights activist Maziar Bahari, and Iranian academic Mohammad Marandi debate how much of a reformer President Hassan Rouhani has actually been and whether the country has progressed under his leadership.

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Source: Al Jazeera News