London – Iran’s outgoing president Hassan Rouhani was fiercely attacked by conservative rivals on Tuesday after which he accused Tehran’s elite Revolutionary Guard of sabotaging the nuclear deal with its ballistic missile program.
In the second televised presidential debate, Rouhani said that testing and putting at display the range of ballistic missiles and writing provocative messages on missiles is a clear attempt on derailing the nuclear deal.
Conservative candidate and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf was accused by Rouhani for running an anti-nuclear deal propaganda that targeted the negotiating team by distributing posters in the capital.
The debate held on Friday happened between six candidates running for Iran’s upcoming presidential election on May 19.
Hardline rivals challenged President Hassan Rouhani in a pre-election debate on Friday over the lack of economic revival since his nuclear deal with big powers, but he said oil exports had resurged and the economy only needed more time to recover.
All three conservative candidates harshly criticized the way the nuclear deal is being implemented, saying that it has failed on delivering what Rouhani had promised.
One of his main challengers, hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, said he would not tear up the nuclear accord but slammed what he called the government’s weak stance and empty promises.
Rouhani in turn asked his rivals to tell the electorate what they would do with the agreement and how they would deal with the international community.
Conservative candidate Mostafa Mirsalim said the nuclear deal caused the Iranian program to be shut down, the closure of its sites and the expulsion of nuclear scientists.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) issued a statement in response to Mirsalim’s statements shortly after the debate ended.
In turn, the foreign ministry issued a statement refusing remarks made by conservative candidates targeting the nuclear agreement, while reformist candidate Mostafa Hashemitaba called for a foreign policy away from the provocative and aggressive statements lead to straining Iran’s international relations.
Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said Iran should choose between cooperating with the international community or a negative isolationist stance.