Iran Special: Highlights From The Third Presidential Debate
Friday, June 7, 2013 at 16:01
Joanna Paraszczuk in Ali Akbar Velayati, EA Iran, GGholam Ali Haddad Adel, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Hassan Rouhani, Iran Election 2013, Mohammad Gharazi, Mohammad Reza Aref, Mohammad-Baqer Ghalibaf, Mohsen Rezaei

Iran's Presidential race has, in many ways, turned into a contest not only between the eight individual candidates but perhaps even more so between the Principlist/ Conservative and the Reformist/Moderate camps.

Although Friday's Third Presidential debate was an opportunity for the candidates to set out their views and policies on foreign policy and politics, it also provided a space to explore this factional divide.

Principlist and conservative candidates --- Ali Akbar Velayati, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, Gholam-Ali Haddad- Adel -- used the debate to criticize the Reformists and past Reformist governments, while Reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref and his moderate counterpart Hassan Rouhani slammed the Principlist movement and the current Ahmadinejad administration. Independent candidates Mohsen Rezaei and Mohammad Gharazi hit out at both factions and called for an end to factionalism.

Some of the main highlights of the debate (thanks to Al Jazeera English and Hassan Rouhani's campaign team, who live-tweeted the debate).

On Factionalism

Principlist candidate and Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili criticized the reformist Khatami administration for its foreign policy performance post September 11.

Rouhani slammed the principlist Qalibaf for his comments on foreign policy:

#Rouhani: I am surprised to hear #Ghalibaf claim foreign policy has been unsuccessful in general.

— Rouhani Campaign (@HassanRouhani) June 7, 2013

Aref on the principlists:

#Aref: Part of the problem is that Principalists sidelined Reformists #Iran #Iran2013

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

Gharazi says there need to be more camps, not just the b inary reformists vs. principlists:

#Gharazi: If the country was in the hands of two parties - Principalists & Reformists, then there would only be two men here #Iran #مناظره

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

Velayati complains about the way he was treated under the reformist Khatami administration:

#Velayati: Reformists did the same thing when they were in charge, sidelining the what happened was a retaliation #Iran

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

Haddad-Adel also slams the Khatami administration, waxing poetic about how the reformists purged the principlists:

#Haddadadel accuses Reformists of shaking out all Principalists - "What an autumn it was, all falling like leaves" #Iran #مناظره #Iran2013

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

On Public Security And Censorship

Aref, responding to Rezaei, asked:

#Aref: Mr. #Rezaei, days ago, while visiting #Tehran bazaar, some youths chanted slogans in my favor & got #detained..what is ur #solution?

— Rouhani Campaign (@HassanRouhani) June 7, 2013

Aref also criticized the security situation --- and factionalism --- under the current administration:

AJELive ‏@ajelive 6s #Aref: Why is holding a photo of Khatami (former reformist president) against the law? #Iran # مناظره

— AJELive (@AJELive) Ju ne 7, 2013

Rouhani has this to say about censorship and security:

#Rouhani: People need to feel like they can speak freely, they can vote in elections...#Aref mentioned arrests, I know of some too #Iran

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

Rouhani --- who injects some interest into the debate after he loses his temper --- says Iranians need security:

#Rouhani: In all aspects of their lives..economically, culturally, #employment, privacy..our people should feel #safe & #secure.

— Rouhani Campaign (@HassanRouhani) June 7, 2013

Qalibaf blames foreign reporters for criticizing his involvement in student crackdowns:

#Qalibaf: Foreign media twisted my words, making it sound like I was speaking of constant crackdowns & not one specific incident #Iran

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

On Sanctions, Diplomacy and Relations With US

Rouhani says it would be easier for Iran to negotiate with the US than Europe:

#Rouhani: The issue of negotiating with the west in the past was whether it's easier to negotiate with #US or Europe? I say #US...#Iran

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

Haddad-Adel says Iran was under sanctions even before it began the nuclear program. The nuclear issue is a red herring, according to Haddad-Adel; the real issue is Washington's opposition to the Islamic Revolution:

#Haddadadel: #Iran under sanction even before #nuclear programme, which is not military...root of issue with #US is the revolution itself

— AJELive (@AJELive) Ju ne 7, 2013

Gharazi suggests Iran improve its economy so that it can stand up to Washington, like China has:

#Gharazi: #China was able to stand up to #US only after it fixed its own economy & increased productivity - #Iran not there yet #Iran2013

— AJELive (@AJELive) Ju ne 7, 2013

Rezaei takes issue with Haddad-Adel for failing to offer any ideas for how Tehran can counter the US; he agrees with Gharazi that Iran needs to boost its economy:

#Rezaei: We can only beat #US at sanctions game by reversing unemployment & strengthening our currency #Iran #Iran2013 #مناظره

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013

Jalili slams Velayati, saying that he does not know what he is talking about when he criticizes his track record as nuclear negotiator:

#Jalili strikes back at #Velayati on his track record as a negotiator (insisting P5+1 remove all sanctions): He has it so wrong! #Iran

— AJELive (@AJELive) June 7, 2013



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