Iran begins first presidential hopefuls TV debate

Iran’s two presidential hopefuls on Tuesday began the country’s unprecedented face-to-face TV debate series among presidential candidates.

Reformist former Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi and conservative former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezaei outlined their top priority if elected to the presidency and focused on economic issues.

“My priority is economy,” Rezaei said in the debate with a moderator sitting in the center, which was broadcast live by the state-run television. “I’m seeking an economic revolution.”

Rezaei said he will change the government-controlled economy toone that has significant participation of the private sector. He also proposed to set up a national development fund which can provide people with jobs instead of money.

Karroubi, for his part, promised to distribute oil earnings to every Iranian over age of 18 and to protect civil rights.

The debate, which was the first of six among four candidates, Karroubi, Rezaei, incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, came just 10 days ahead of the 10th presidential election slated for June 12.

Debate between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi which is to attract thousands of audience will be held on Wednesday.

Iran’s state-run television and broadcasting have been sharply criticized for its second propaganda in favor of Ahmadinejad.


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