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War Of Words in Iran's Presidential Elections

Source: Press TV

After debate, Leader warns against rival defamation

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution warns presidential hopefuls against resorting to defamation strategies to 'prove' themselves for the presidential post.

Addressing crowds at the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, the late Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei raised the issue of character assassination in relation to the June 12 presidential election.

"It is not decent for a [presidential] hopeful to resort to slandering another candidate in a speech or a debate to prove himself," the Leader said on Thursday, after two presidential candidates held a controversial debate late on Wednesday.

An Ahmadinejad supporter holds a newspaper with a title saying Rafsanjani's family clan is against Ahmadinejad


Ayatollah Khamenei also called upon the masses to go to the polls in large numbers to thwart efforts aimed at portraying Iran's elections as undemocratic, adding that all should work toward the protection of the Islamic Revolution.

The Leader noted that Iran enjoys a democratic electoral system, which puts the votes of the Iranian nation first.

With only one week left before the presidential election, hopefuls are doing their best to garner support by taking part in speeches and rallies, as well as televised debates.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) and Mir-Hossein Mousavi (R) - watch the full debate on youtube

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the last prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi held the second face-off among candidates on Wednesday to defend their policies.

During the 90-minute debate, the two contenders exchanged criticism over various issues including foreign policy and economic management.

Ahmadinejad took a swipe at two former presidents Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, accusing them of masterminding a plot to push him out of power.

Ahmadinejad underlined what he believed were examples of mismanagement and corruption during those two presidents' administrations.

He also claimed that Rafsanjani had promised the fall of his new government to Saudi Arabia after he lost the 2005 election to Ahmadinejad.

In response, Mousavi attacked Ahmadinejad for accusing people who were not represented in the debate. He said the tactic was adopted by the incumbent President because Ahmadinejad had not found anything against him.

Mousavi Supporters Want Change

Mousavi brought into question Ahmadinejad's foreign and economic policies, saying that his denial of the Holocaust had resulted in dire consequences for the country.

President Ahmadinejad's attacks were not limited to former presidents. He also accused the two other presidential hopefuls -- Mohsen Rezaei and Mehdi Karroubi -- of trying to downplay his government's achievements, saying there have been massive plots underway against this government.

Rafsanjani hits back at Ahmadinejad

Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani hits back at hopeful Ahmadinejad for leveling 'unfounded accusations' against him during a debate with Mousavi.

The office of the head of the Assembly of Experts called on the IRIB to give him airtime to defend himself against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's accusations, which also targeted Rafsanjani's immediate family.

The Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council made the request through a letter to the IRIB head Ezzatollah Zarghami on Thursday.

The letter described the debate as "constant accusations made by, and lies spread by Mr. Ahmadinejad about Mr. Rafsanjani and his children."

The request comes after Ahmadinejad accused Rafsanjani of desiring the collapse of his government and accused his sons of fraud and financial corruption.

Ahmadinejad supporters holding a poster accusing Hashemi Rafsanjani is against Ahmadinejad

The incumbent president, who held a televised debate with presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi on Wednesday, also launched attacks against another former president, Mohammad Khatami.

"They tried to stand against the Iranian nation but people defeated them. During these four years [Ahmadinejad's term in office] they tried to pretend that the government is unsuccessful, but with God's and people's help we have arrived at this point," the sitting president said.

"In the early days of my government, Mr. Rafsanjani sent a message to a king of a Persian Gulf state and told him not to worry, this government will collapse within six months," Ahmadinejad said.

"Such remarks clearly show that there have been massive plots underway against this government," he added.

Iran's presidential election will be held on June 12. President Ahmadinejad, the country's last prime minister Mir- Hossain Mousavi, former parliament speaker Mahdi Karoudi and Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei are the candidates.

The upcoming election will be the tenth since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979 that ended the reign of the country's monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Mousavi's wife addresses disputed degree

Mir-Hossein Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard

Iranian presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, has welcomed any investigation into her master's and Ph. D. degrees.

"I urge those who are doubtful about my degrees to gather factual information," Qalam News website quoted Rahnavard as saying.

"Character assassination is in contrast with Islamic ethics," she added.

In a debate with Mir-Hossein Mousavi on Wednesday, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Rahnavard of studying in two universities at the same time while she was a government employee, receiving two master's degrees and obtaining her doctorate without an entrance exam.

Currently majoring two different subjects simultaneously is prohibited -- however at the time of Rahnavard the practice was considered lawful.

Mousavi, however, said Rahnavard had studied for ten years to receive a doctorate and hit back at Ahmadinejad for adopting "an immoral strategy" by the move of attacking a candidate's spouse.

"My first book about research on the holy Qur'an was published in 1973-1975. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, ten of my books were published, 30 others were edited, ten of which were translated into other languages," Rahnavard further explained.

Rahnavard also pointed out that she wrote her book called The Message of the Muslim Woman's Hijab in the United States. It was published with a circulation of more than a million copies.

"I entered the University of Tehran in 1968 and I got my bachelor's degree four years later. I was admitted to the Islamic Azad University after passing the entrance exam in 1986 to get my master's degree and Ph. D. and I graduated in 1995. I also took the entrance exam for the master's degree in the field of Arts and graduated from the University of Tehran in 1994," she went on to say.

Meanwhile, Rahnavard said that she wrote her master's thesis on Arab scholars and her doctoral thesis on Islamic government.

Iran's presidential election will be held on June 12. President Ahmadinejad, Mousavi, former parliament speaker Mahdi Karroubi and the Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei are the candidates.

Ahmadinejad supporters watching the debate

Jurist asks Council to disqualify Ahmadinejad

An Iranian jurist says the Guardian Council should review its decision to qualify Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the upcoming presidential election.

The incumbent president 'breached the Constitution' by accusing some former officials on Wednesday in a televised debate with rival Mir-Hossein Mousavi, ILNA news agency quoted Nemat Ahmadi as saying on Thursday.

During the 90-minute debate, Ahmadinejad took a swipe at two former presidents Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, accusing them of masterminding a plot to push him out of power.

He also accused Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnavard of obtaining her doctorate without an entrance exam.

"What Ahmadinejad said last night was clearly in breach of the Constitution. All those who he named can file a complaint against him," Ahmadi said, referring to the legal principle of the presumption of innocence, which forbids accusing people who have not been convicted in court.

"Ahmadinejad has accused two presidents who were elected by the people and came to office with the approval of the country's leadership," he said, calling on the Guardian Council to review Ahmadinejad's qualification process.

Ahmadi added that the Guardian Council has the right to disqualify a presidential candidate even if he has been initially qualified.

The third presidential debate will be held on Thursday between Mohsen Rezaei and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who were also accused by Ahmadinejad of trying to downplay the achievements of his government.

watching the debate

Accused Iranian official calls Ahmadinejad to debate

One of the many Iranian officials accused of graft by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has challenged him to a debate to clear his name.

In a televised debate with his main opponent Mir-Hossein Moussavi, President Ahmadinejad named Mohsen Safaie-Farahani among the many people who had gathered wealth under Moussavi's premiership from 1981-89.

Safaie-Farahani was a deputy in the state-run Development and Reconstruction Organization during the last three years of Moussavi's premiership.

He later went on to head the state-run Electricity Generation, Transmission and Distribution Company for eight years and later Iran's Football Federation.

"Without any evidence or proof, Mr. Ahmadinejad has accused me and other state officials on television," said Safaie-Farahani. "I herewith declare my readiness for a debate with him, and, if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can substantiate his allegations against me, then he must participate in this debate. If he refuses, then the people can judge for themselves about his false and unrealistic claims."

In a Thursday interview with ILNA news agency, Safaie-Farahani said that he was proud of his government service and formally invited the Judiciary, the Intelligence Ministry, the General Inspection Organization and "all other supervisory bodies" to look into all his material possessions.

He said that "contrary to some associates of the [Ahmadinejad] government, in all my years of service, I have not usurped even one cent of public money."

Safaie-Farahani, who once led a Reformist party, attributed Ahmadinejad's claims to his criticism of the government which he said "had greatly annoyed Mr. Ahmadinejad."

"He is afraid, because he has a serious critic and this is the reason for his acts."

Separately, veteran politician Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, a former two-term president, in a letter to the head of the state broadcasting body -- IRIB -- asked for the earliest possible opportunity to respond to the many accusations leveled against him by Ahmadinejad on air.

Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who currently heads the Assembly of Experts, allegedly supports Moussavi.

... Payvand News - 06/04/09 ... --

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