Iran presidential candidates trade barbs in TV debate
In a discussion on Saturday, candidates in Iran’s presidential election this month threw sharp accusations, accusing one other of treachery or lacking the education needed to oversee an economy battered by three years of US sanctions.
While the five hardline candidates criticised outgoing pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani’s eight-year record, the leading moderate contender, former central bank president Abdolnaser Hemmati, blamed hardliners for escalating tensions with the West, which he claimed had exacerbated Iran’s economic troubles.
Former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezaee accused Hemmati of “totally complying” with US sanctions in the first of three discussions leading up to the June 18 vote, and claimed he should be charged with treason.
“If I become president, I will bar Hemmati and a number of other Rouhani government officials from leaving the country, and I will prove in court what treacherous roles they played,” Rezaee, an economist with a degree in economics, said during the three-hour televised discussion.
“Mr Raisi, can you offer me assurances that no legal action would be taken against me after this event?” Hemmati half-jokingly questioned top hardline candidate and judiciary leader Ebrahim Raisi after Rezaee’s statements.
With the Guardian Council, a hardline-led election watchdog, banning leading moderate and conservative candidates, turnout in a seven-man race between hardline and somewhat less hardline contenders, as well as two low-profile moderates, is set to be record low.
“After seeing the debate, I’m even more convinced that I won’t be voting. This election is a farce, to say the least “Fariba Semsari, a retired teacher from Rasht in northern Iran, stated over the phone.
However, a Tehran-based journalist, who did not want to be identified, said: “Some who would not have voted otherwise have come out in support of Hemmati. His decision to have his outspoken wife represent him in an interview with state television, among other things, has impressed some women.”
Hemmati accused hardliners of isolating Iran on the international stage and destroying its economy, which is controlled by hardline-run conglomerates in many areas.
“You’ve cut us off from our economy and our international contacts…
I implore you and your friends, businesses, and institutions to withdraw from our economy, and Iran’s economy will undoubtedly improve “Professor of economics Hemmati expressed his thoughts.
A moderate lawmaker, Mohsen Mehralizadeh, stated that persons with just conventional clerical degrees, such as Raisi, could not manage the economy.
“While I admire your seminary studies, I must remark that with only six years of classical education, one cannot run the economy or put up plans for the country,” remarked Mehralizadeh, who possesses a doctorate in financial management.
Raisi slammed Rouhani’s government for skyrocketing inflation and the rapid depreciation of the Iranian currency, dismissing comments by Hemmati and other moderates who blame U.S. sanctions for Iran’s economic woes, claiming that the country would have been worse off if the country had been managed properly.
“It’s like a goalkeeper who lets in 17 goals and then claims it would have been 30 goals if it hadn’t been for me!” Raisi, who has a degree in Islamic law, stated this.
Following the debate, cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei requested that the administration be given an opportunity to react to “accusations and slanders” levelled against it by some candidates on state television.
At a time when Tehran and six foreign countries are attempting to restore their 2015 nuclear deal, the poll is likely to strengthen the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is close to hardliners. Three years ago, the United States pulled out of the agreement and reimposed sanctions.
Iran presidential candidates trade barbs in TV debate, Iran presidential candidates trade barbs in TV debate, Iran presidential candidates trade barbs in TV debate, Iran presidential candidates trade barbs in TV debate, Iran presidential candidates trade barbs in TV debate