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Iran: Tough questions for president bring an end to broadcast

02/24/13 Report by Radio Zamaneh; photos by Armin Karami, Mehr News Agency

After live television coverage of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's interview was interrupted by the sudden airing of a series episode, the president's office issued a statement expressing surprise, while the national broadcaster's public relations department claims the interruption was done in coordination with the office of the president.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the live press conference

Last night, February 23, the president was being shown at a live press conference when the program was interrupted with a subtitle indicating that the second part of the interview would be aired after the scheduled episode of a series.

The office of the president issued a message saying Seda va Sima (Iranian state national broadcasting) had unexpectedly interrupted the live interview with the president to air commercials, music and a series.

Taghi Sohrabi, the head of Seda va Sima PR, says, however, that the interruption was done in coordination with the deputy communications officer of the president's office, and he should be asked about the reason for the decision.

The Mehr News Agency reports that in the second part of the interview, when the Mehr reporter began asking questions that took a critical view of the administration's economic policies, the program was suddenly interrupted and basically concluded.

According to the Mehr News Agency, in the unaired section of the interview, the reporter asks about the government's promises to fight corruption, even as the $3-billion bank fraud occurred under his watch. The reporter also accused the administration of yo-yoing between the position that sanctions are having no effect on the economy and blaming them for all of the country's economic maladies.

The report indicates that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Mehr reporter that he was "accusing the administration of certain violations" and added that he would not be allowed to read such a statement in front of any other official.

Asked about the record of his administration, Ahmadinejad reportedly answered: "I still insist that we have run the cleanest administration." He added that he feels Iran's economic situation is "very good" and that "inflation is not considered a loss for everybody and only those with set salaries lose while others benefit from inflation."

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