Iranian presidential candidates swap beards in televised debate | World news


DUBAI (Reuters) – Candidates for Iran’s presidential election this month traded strong spikes in a debate on Saturday, accusing each other of betrayal or lack of education to run an economy devastated by three years US sanctions.

As the five die-hard candidates attacked the eight-year performance of pragmatic incumbent Hassan Rouhani, the main moderate candidate, former central bank chief Abdolnaser Hemmati, blamed the hardliners for heightened tensions with the government. West which he said had aggravated Iran’s economic woes.

In the first of three debates leading up to the June 18 vote, former Revolutionary Guard leader Mohsen Rezaee accused Hemmati of “fully complying” with US sanctions and said he should face charges of treason.

“If I become president, I will ban 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 said during the televised debate. three hours.

After Rezaee’s remarks, Hemmati half-jokingly asked hard-line candidate and justice chief Ebrahim Raisi: “Mr. Raisi, can you assure me that no legal action will be taken against me afterwards?” this event ? “

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With the hardline-led electoral watchdog, the Guardian Council, barring the main moderate and conservative candidates, turnout is expected to be record-breaking in a seven-man race between pure and slightly less tough candidates, and two quiet moderates.

“I watched the debate and now I am even more sure not to vote. This election is a joke,” Fariba Semsari, a retired teacher, told the phone from the northern town of Rasht.

But a Tehran-based reporter, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Hemmati has attracted support from some who would not have voted otherwise. Among other things, his decision to be portrayed in a television interview. of state by his outspoken wife impressed some women. “

Hemmati accused hard-line supporters of isolating Iran internationally and ruining its economy, large sectors of which are dominated by hard-line conglomerates.

“You have closed our economy and our foreign contacts … I ask you and your friends, businesses and institutions to withdraw from our economy, and then the Iranian economy will surely improve,” Hemmati said. , professor of economics.

Mohsen Mehralizadeh, a moderate politician, said the economy cannot be run by those with only traditional office studies, like Raisi.

“You only have six years of classical education, and while respecting your seminary studies, I must say that we cannot manage the economy and make plans for the country with so much education”, said Mehralizadeh, holder of a doctorate in financial management.

Raisi lambasted Rouhani’s government over runaway inflation and the rapid fall in the value of Iran’s currency, and rejected comments from Hemmati and other moderates who blame US sanctions for Iran’s economic problems and say that without proper management the country would have been worse off.

“It’s like a goalkeeper who lets in 17 goals … and then says that without me it would have been 30 goals!” said Raisi.

The election is expected to bolster the authority of extremist-close Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Tehran and six world powers try to revive their 2015 nuclear deal. Washington walked out of the deal there is three years and reimposed the sanctions.

(Report by Dubai Newsroom and Parisa Hafezi; edited by Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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