Friday Jun 07, 201304:57 PM GMT
Iranian candidates hold final live debate on domestic, foreign policy
Fri Jun 7, 2013 11:47AM
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On June 14, Iranians will cast their ballots at over 66,000 polling stations across the country in the nation’s 11th presidential election. Expatriates will also be able to vote at 285 polling stations that will be set up in their respective countries."

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Iran presidential candidates have held their third and final live debate on television, discussing their domestic and foreign policies ahead of the upcoming presidential poll.

Independent candidate Mohsen Rezaei was the first to outline his policies in the Friday debate, saying his administration will focus on fulfilling the rights of the Iranian people in all foreign policy areas.

Rezaei emphasized that relations with regional and Islamic countries should be boosted and international relations should be also outlined in a way that Iran would be able to gain “economic and cultural development,” while keeping its current powerful position.

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said he would pursue to protect the national interests as well as the revolutionary identity of Iran in his foreign policy approach.

Qalibaf noted that Iran’s success in its foreign policy would depend on the government’s strong performance.

Lawmaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel criticized western countries for imposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic over the country’s nuclear energy program saying that Iran enemies use the nuclear issue as an excuse to undermine the country’s position.

Haddad-Adel emphasized that solving the issue of sanctions would be a top priority in his administration, saying he would follow the path set by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, which is economic resistance.

He added that precise management and diplomacy backed by national dignity and national strength will be the best way for overcoming the sanctions.

The next contender, reformist candidate Hassan Rohani, said all Iranian ethnicities must be taken into account in the country’s policymaking process.

Rohani mentioned ensuring people’s security, freedom of speech, and social security as well as administering justice, creating jobs and protecting people’s privacy as the main goals of his administration.

Concerning the foreign policy, the President of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council said his policies aim to protect national security, while creating political, economic and social opportunities for the people.

Former First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref criticized the current balance of political forces, noting that the incumbent administration has failed to use skilled forces from all political factions.

Aref said he would prioritize attention to women and ethnic minorities in his policymaking process.

Former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Velayati, stated that the next president of Iran must have managerial expertise that would allow him to forge overarching consensus for solving the country’s problems, rather than just issuing orders.

Velayati emphasized that in his nuclear policy he would follow an intelligent model that insists on Iran’s right to enrichment, while maintaining relations with other countries and reducing the costs of achieving nuclear technology.

He said by benefiting from efficient managers and the elite he would be able to overcome the problems and create political and managerial stability in the country.

Former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi noted that for Iran’s foreign policy to improve, the country needs to boost domestic talents.

“I will focus on [strengthening] domestic solidarity and consistency,” he added.

Finally, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili criticized Iranian foreign policy during the term of the reformist president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami between 1997 and 2005, warning that the Western powers could take advantage of Iran becoming soft.

“During the term of Mr. Khatami and after all the cooperation on Afghanistan, they (United States) called us 'the Axis of evil'. This method is wrong. If we want to pursue this method, we will see those results," he added.

On June 14, Iranians will cast their ballots at over 66,000 polling stations across the country in the nation’s 11th presidential election. Expatriates will also be able to vote at 285 polling stations that will be set up in their respective countries.

The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.

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