The candidates running for the upcoming Iranian presidential elections on May 19 exchanged accusations during the second round of debates that took place on Friday and were broadcasted live on the Iranian state TV channel. The debate tackled political and cultural issues.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has strongly criticized his conservative presidential rivals, for trying to disrupt the nuclear deal with the West. He accused the Revolutionary Guards of working to sabotage the deal through their ballistic missiles program.
During the debate that was held between six candidates, Rouhani said there are some who appraised the range of ballistic missiles and wrote slogans on missiles in an attempt to sabotage the nuclear deal.
He also accused the conservative candidate, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, of launching a campaign that harms the negotiating team, by waging a counter-campaign by covering Tehran with billboards against the nuclear deal.
The debate was attended by Iran’s current President Hassan Rouhani, his deputy Eshaq Jahangiri, member of the Assembly of Experts Ebrahim Raisi, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, and two former ministers Mustapha Mir-Salim and Mostafa Hashemitaba.
‘Bad for Iran’
Raisi accused Rouhani’s government of signing “some points in the nuclear deal that are bad for Iran, allowing other parties to target Iran’s facilities,” adding that this is “a very bad message for the negotiations.”
Despite all its problems, Raisi considered “the nuclear deal to be a national document for Iran and its counterparties.”
He also criticized the performance of Rouhani’s government regarding the outcome of the nuclear agreement, saying that it did not improve the economic and living conditions and did not lift the economic sanctions on Iran.
Rouhani defended the nuclear deal saying that those who recognize the nuclear deal today were against the negotiations; they had accused the negotiators of betrayal and severely criticized them.”
He also said that many achievements were made on the level of the oil sector and the sanctions; he pointed out that it is important for the people to know the opinion of the presidential candidates regarding the nuclear deal.”
For his part, the mayor of Tehran Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf accused Rouhani's government of plotting to smuggle clothes from Italy for Rouhani’s daughter without paying taxes and fees.
He also criticized the “citizenship rights” project promoted by Rouhani in his previous election campaign, in which he promised religious communities and minorities to gradually grant them their rights and involve them in the political life of the country. He said: “None of these promises has been achieved.”