World News‎ > ‎

Iranian Presidential Candidates Hold TV Debate

posted 31 May 2013, 10:00 by Mpelembe   [ updated 31 May 2013, 10:02 ]

Iranian presidential candidates hold televised debate ahead of elections.

TEHRAN, IRAN (MAY 31, 2013)  (IRIB) - Iran's presidential candidates attended a televised debate on Friday (May 31) ahead of upcoming elections.

In their first live TV debate, the eight candidates discussed economic issues facing the country.

Iranians will go to the polls in the country's 11th presidential election on June 14.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday (May 29) he does not favour any candidate, although hardliners with outlooks similar to his dominate the field.

The field of candidates was narrowed considerably last week when the Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists that vets all candidates, disqualified two independent contenders - former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani andEsfandiar Rahim Mashaie, a close aide of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Reformists, who ran at the last election four years ago, have been largely excluded this time, with the leaders of the "Green movement", that protested against what they said was a rigged result, under unofficial house arrest for more than the last two years.

Analysts say Khamenei is intent on seeing a loyal and docile candidate enter office after the unrest that followed the 2009 election.

Khamenei directly appoints six of the Guardian Council's 12 members, and analysts say he has a direct influence in who gets to run.

The final list of eight candidates approved by the council includes Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator who once worked in Khamenei's office; Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, a close aide and relative of Khamenei; and Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy advisor to the supreme leader.