Iran’s presidential race is heating up ahead of the June 18 vote as, on Saturday, the leading candidates to replace President Hasan Rouhani faced off in the first of three debates.
Tensions rose quickly as accusations of treason and aiding the American enemy were hurled by hard-line candidates at the few remaining moderate ones, while the pragmatist politicians blamed hard-line policies and corruption for ruining Iran’s economy.
One former Revolutionary Guards chief promised during the debate to lock up a moderate candidate for his “treacherous” actions if he wins the presidency, which he is not expected to do.
Over the weekend, the Islamic Republic’s Guardian Council announced a review of last week’s decision to ban several moderate would-be candidates from running in the election. The decision comes after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Friday speech in which Tehran’s leader admitted “some candidates were wronged … [and] accused of untrue things” and called on “the responsible bodies to restore their honor.”