Tehran, Iran – Seven candidates for the June 18 presidential election in Iran have faced a televised debate as disputes over the right to raise other hopes continue.
Saturday’s three-hour event focused on the economy, which has been hit hard by US sanctions over the past three years, characterized by inflation and high unemployment. Two more debates will take place on Tuesday և next Saturday.
The first session passed without any moderation. Instead, the state television host selected numbered balls from glass jars, indicating which candidate should be asked the randomly selected question, who then had three minutes to answer them.
Much of the debate went almost entirely by ignoring issues ranging from tax evasion to budget deficit management to debtors of the big banks as the candidates attacked each other, discussing what they saw as necessary to boost the economy.
In the second round, each candidate, six feet away from each podium, was given four minutes to defend themselves. This was followed by a four-minute speech in which the participants presented their economic plans in more detail. Their microphones were cut off the moment they ran out of time.
The head of the judiciary, Ibrahim Rice, who is considered to be the leader in the upcoming elections, seemed to be in the spotlight.
Abdolnasser Hematin, the former head of the Technocratic Central Bank, and Mohsen Mehralizadeh, the former deputy leader of the reformists, were the only ones to criticize the conservative Raisi.
The other four conservative և tough candidates are senior security official Saeed al-Ali; Secretary of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Reza; և Legislators did not ask Alireza Zak ևakan և Amir Hossein haz Azizadeh Hashem’s question with Raisi, instead attacking their reformist opponents և the current government.
This led Hemat to claim that the other candidates were only covering Raisi, a claim which they flatly rejected.
Mehralizade says he respects the education of Raisi seminaries, but insists he is not well equipped to run a country of more than 82 million people, as he had only completed six traditional traditional educations and had zero executive experience.
He joked that Rice was suffering from “acute restlessness syndrome” as he spent most of his career as a judge, becoming the head of the powerful Astan Quds Razavi religious organization in Mashhad, failing to run for president in 2017 and then becoming a judge. System head 2019
“What guarantee is there that you will not leave the office of the President for a higher position?” Mehralizadeh asked, hinting at rumors that Rice would become the next supreme leader when 82-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dies.
In response, Rice said that criticizing her would not solve the country’s problems. He said that he has zero ambitions for the position of power, adding that he only responded to public calls.
At the same time, Hamati, who said he wanted to represent the “silent majority” of Iranians in the election and tried to distance himself from the economic legacy of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, was constantly attacked by opponents who tried to portray him as part of it. problem related to the economic difficulties of the country.
Taking out the Rial banknote, the four-time presidential candidate Reza said he knew decades ago that the current national currency would depreciate significantly. He described the Rouhani administration as one of the worst since the 1979 revolution, saying “the train of the revolution has turned into a scooter”.
The former commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who has previously been criticized by Hemmati for speculating that Iran could make money by taking American citizens hostage, has directly threatened to prosecute the former central banker for running his economy. This prompted Hemat to ask the head of the judiciary, Raisi, to guarantee that he would not be imprisoned.
Hemmati also criticized Rezaei and other hardline party members for suspending bills to supplement Iran’s Financial Transparency Action Plan with the Financial Action Task Force, saying he regretted that many Iranians, especially women, were not represented in the presidential race.
The Supreme Leader denied the disqualifications
The dispute between the candidates came a day after Khamenei said that the Constitutional Review body, known as the Board of Trustees, whose six members were directly appointed by him and the other six, appointed by the head of the judiciary, were wrong. in the evaluation of candidates.
Without naming the candidates, the Supreme Leader said that some of them “received injustice”, were disqualified on the basis of false information, and “demanded” corrections.
He apparently meant Ali Larijani, the three-time former speaker of parliament, his current adviser, who could have been Raisi’s main rival if he had not been disqualified.
Sadek Amoli Larijani, the disqualified candidate’s brother անդամ a member of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement that he had never found the body so “defenseless” during his 20 years there, adding that intelligence agencies had contributed to his brother’s disqualification by offering false messages.
Hours after Khamenei’s speech, the council issued a statement saying it would not change its vote. In fact, by obeying the direct order of the Supreme Leader in an unprecedented step.
The council also disqualified a number of other reformist and pragmatic candidates, including First Vice-President Eshak Hangar, leading to criticism that non-conservative hopes were being dashed.
Voter turnout is expected to be low due to economic and social unrest and widespread public frustration.