Reuters International

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 26, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood/File Photo

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran will hold its next presidential election in May 2017, state news agencies said on Wednesday, a vote in which moderate President Hassan Rouhani may seek a second term to push ahead with reforms resisted by powerful hardliners.

The Guardian Council, a body of Shi'ite Muslim clerics and jurists that oversees elections, said in a letter to the ministry that it had agreed on a date of May 19 proposed by the ministry, according to students news agency ISNA said.

Rouhani last year struck a deal with world powers on curbing Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions and has sought to open Iran's economy to foreign investors.

He is eligible to run for a second four-year term.

Iranian officials have said that the election would be held earlier than usual so as not to coincide with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which starts in late May.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; editing by Sami Aboudi and Mark Heinrich)

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