London- Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani and his hardline opponent Ebrahim Raisi exchanged on Tuesday heavy criticism, 48 hours ahead of the third and last presidential debate between candidates running for this month’s elections.
While Rouhani said those criticizing the unemployment crisis have themselves prevented Sunnis and women from getting jobs, his foe Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf accused him of introducing the war in every Iranian house through poverty and unemployment.
Also, Raisi, a former prosecutor-general, rejected Rouhani’s statements and accused him of being aggressive in addressing the people and his challengers.
But, Rouhani did not fall short from continuing his harsh attacks against the Tehran mayor, Ghalibaf, and said the foundation of Astan Quds Razavi, which is linked to Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, was evading taxes.
Iran’s Vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri, also a presidential candidate, said on Tuesday he was worried that an internal conflict could erupt due to the disputes among the country’s political players, calling on officials to learn from other regional states, which suffer from crises.
Meanwhile, at a speech delivered in South Tehran, Rouhani addressed his opponents, saying: “Tell the people the same words that you repeat in your meetings. Have you not sought to issue a decree to prevent women in workplaces? Make an assessment of the decrees on gender discrimination.”
Since last Monday, Rouhani has drastically shifted the strategy of his presidential speeches by choosing to defend freedoms of expression and citizens’ rights.
On Tuesday, the outgoing president also tried to make up for the embarrassment he had faced in the northern province of Golestan were he was met on Sunday with stones, thrown by angry workers on his convoy while he was visiting a coalmine that collapsed last week.
Rouhani lashed out at the Basij without naming them, and said: “You want the economy, but you never examined the mine, which you owned, and where people are now buried.”
Last Wednesday, at least 30 miners were killed in the coalmine collapse, while rescue workers continued to search for dozens of others trapped miners.
According to Iranian reports, Rouhani’s campaign has assembled 15,000 from his supporters.