Iran Election Guide

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Reactions To The Televised Debate

Behind The Scenes At The Televised Debate

Iran's eight Presidential candidates held their first televised debate on Friday, a four-hour session that focussed on the economy.

Press TV also offers a summary of the debate.

Two candidates --- the moderate Hassan Rouhani and the principlist Saeed Jalili --- had their campaign teams live-tweet from the event.

Although the candidates were encouraged to give short answers, some were more vocal than others. This clip shows Mohammad-Reza Aref especially but also Mohsen Rezaei becoming irritated with the host.


Press TV also published a video report, showing reactions to the debate.

KhabarOnline reported the final comments each candidate made at the end of the debate.

Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf thanked the "great nation" of Iran for enduring the four-hour debate, and made sure to mention the most important election buzzword --- the Supreme Leader's call to make the election a "political epic".

Ali Akbar Velayati ended with a note of hope that the Iranian nation would continue to revive the great Islamic civilization.

Saeed Jalili, in contrast, ended with a note of caution, saying that Iran needed to recognize its weaknesses.

Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel finished with a note about sanctions, saying that if the Iranian nation managed to get through the Iran-Iraq War it could certainly endure the sanctions, because of economic strength.

Mohammad-Reza Aref merely thanked the Iranian people for participating in the election and said that the best candidate should win.

Mohsen Rezaei was optimistic, saying he saw a bright future and hoped that sanctions would be converted into opportunities and that he had hope in Iran's youth.

Hassan Rouhani ended by pledging to give Iranians security and relief from poverty.

Mohammad Gharazi called on Iranians to ensure a good turnout and said the Americans should retreat.

Following the debate, two news agencies --- ISNA and Asr Iran --- conducted mini-polls on their websites, asking readers to decide which candidate they thought came out well. ISNA's poll put Aref in the lead with 40.3% by Friday afternoon, followed by Rouhani (18%), Qalibaf (13%) and Jalili (6%). Asr Iran put Aref in the lead with 31% followed by Rouhani with 29% (thanks to Hanif Kashani of the Wilson Center for data).

A longer video of the televised debate:

Tough Talk Of The Day: Basij Edition

Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi has said that Iran is at war with the United States on five different fronts, Fars News --- close to the Revolutionary Guards --- reports.

Those fronts are: political, cultural, economic, science and technology, he explained.

This war was actually a war against Islam, he further clarified, noting that it had been going on "since the start of the Revolution [in 1979]".

Naqdi added that Western capitalism was in a total deadlock, however.

Presidential Election Watch: Velayati "To Use Experts, Top Consultants"

Following the lead of other candidates --- notably Saeed Jalili --- Presidential candidate Ali Akbar Velayati has emphasized that, if elected, he will include leading experts, consultants and managers in his administration.

Velayati said he would push forward privatization as well as national production.

The senior adviser to the Supreme Leader also made clear that, if elected, his government would of course "act on the basis of the Islamic Revolution" --- which he defined as providing the public with welfare, security and a higher income.

Presidential Election Watch: Jalili Edition

Rumor Of The Day: Jalili Refutes Reports About Mashaei

Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili denied a rumor on Saturday that he the campaign headquarters of Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei had been handed over to him in order to keep that faction in the election.

Jalili's campaign tweeted a denial of the rumor, saying that it was "false" and that he was not the government candidate.

The Tabnak website --- close to Presidential candidate and former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezaei --- led with the rumor.

Jalili used his Twitter account to rebut comments that he had quit the nuclear talks.

Presidential Election Watch: Rouhani Edition

Rouhani Slams State TV

Rouhani has criticized IRIB, saying that State TV had failed to create a healthy competition in Friday's televised debates.

Rafsanjani "Told Rouhani To Stay In Race"

Rouhani says he consulted with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and others, who encouraged and advised him to remain in the Presidential race.

Military Watch: Reports Emerge On Tehran's Lawsuit With Russia Over S-300s

While the Western media has been dominated by rumors and reports of alleged Russian sales of S-300 surface-to-air missile defense systems to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, a curious story has emerged today regarding Iran's attempts to purchase the much-coveted weapons.

Tehran signed a contract with Moscow to supply the systems in 2007, however Russia later canceled the sale because of UN sanctions against Iran. In April 2012, Iran filed a lawsuit against Russia over the systems.

On Friday, the Iranian media jumped on a Thursday report in Russia's RIA Novosti, which cited the CEO of Rostech, Sergei Chemezov, as saying that Russia is "seeking an amicable settlement" in the lawsuit.

Mehr News reports that Chemezov said that Russia's chances of winning are "very slim", while PressTV cites Chemezov as saying that it was pressure from Washington that led to Moscow canceling the S-300 contract with Tehran.

On Saturday, however, RIA Novosti has an update on the story: it cites an anonymous source in the Iranian embassy in Moscow as saying that Tehran has "no information on Russia's desire to conclude a settlement with Iran over the lawsuit".

RIA quotes the source as saying: "We [Iran] are not aware about the steps the Russian side is taking to settle this question [about Iran's lawsuit]. We have not had any communication from anyone about this matter, therefore we cannot confirm this information, in particular about the signing of a peaceful settlement between the parties."

The Iranian source added that the settlement of the matter of the lawsuit was being done "in the legal arena, not the political arena, and even partly in the technical arena."

Presidential Election Watch: Jalili Edition

Blogging For Jalili?

Presidential candidate and Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili has announced that there are now 1,300 bloggers supporting his campaign.

The Jalili campaign says it is keeping track of blogger support via a special website,

Jalili Campaign Releases Economic Plan

The Jalili campaign has produced 53-page PDF in Persian of Jalili's economic plan, which it is offering for download via the economic think tank behind the campaign, masir1357.

Jalili Photographed At Martyrs' Graves In Arak

Jalili posted photographs of himself --- taken by the Mehr News Agency --- visiting the graves of martyrs amid supporters in Arak in central Iran.

Presidential Election Watch: Rouhani Edition

Rouhani Says He's Ahead In Polls

Moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani tweets a link to a poll that puts him in the lead, Aref second.

Asr Iran Publishes Photo of "Rouhani On Military Service"

Conservative news outlet Asr Iran publishes this photograph which it says is of Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani on military service. (Rouhani is second from the right.)

There has been a trend in this election of candidates and news agencies distributing photographs of candidates from years gone by.

Rouhani To Give Press Conference

Fars News --- close to the Revolutionary Guards --- reports that Rouhani will give a press conference on Saturday at 11 a.m. Tehran time.

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