Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran Interior Ministry Sets Electoral Debates Dates amid Security Concerns | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55372327

Main contenders for Iran presidential election (top L-R) Mostafa Mirsalim, Mostafa Hashemitaba, Eshaq Jahangiri (bottom L-R) Ebrahim Raisi, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and President Hassan Rouhani. (AFP)

London – The Iranian electoral commission announced the schedule of the televised presidential debates, reversing a decision that bans their live broadcast.

Spokesman for Iran’s Interior Ministry Seyyed Salman Samani said that the ban stemmed from “highly delicate” concerns, hinting at the experience of the past two presidential elections.

Debates will tackle three essential areas – in the first week, candidates will discuss social and economic issues, while in the second the focus will be on political programs and the third will conclude the social and economic topics discussed earlier.

Samani attributed the ban of televised debates to a meeting that discussed certain “concerns”, adding that the electoral committee is in a quest to reach solutions that tackles these concerns. He added that it is necessary to reach “ways that take them into consideration.”

While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised to “unveil the truth to the Iranian people in the coming days” regarding those who are hindering his political programs, Mayor of Tehran Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf expressed discontent with the Iranian political and military situation. He criticized the Rouhani administration, saying that “the economic crisis frustrated the people.”

In his first statement since being barred from running in the elections, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared: “We clearly announce that we have not and will not support any candidate in the upcoming elections.”

The letter was signed by himself and his former deputy and presidential-hopeful Hamid Baghaei.

Ahmadinejad’s barring from the elections sparked speculation in Iran because the reason for his rejection was not revealed. The very fact that he even decided to run in the polls came as a shock because he defied an edict by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei not to do so.

The Iranian electoral commission announced on Thursday that Iran’s Guardian Council approved six out of 1,636 candidates to run in the elections.