Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Presidential Debates: Karrubi vs. Rezaie

Karrubi (left) facing Rezaie to start presidential debates
Tehran. 2 June 2009
Fars photo; Press TV logo

In the first of six debates between the four presidential candidates, former Majlis speaker Mehdi Karrubi faced former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaie. The debate, televised by IRIB Channel 3, was cordial and friendly. Both candidates reserved their sharpest attacks against the policies of the sitting president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, especially in regards to the worsening economic condition in the country.

Rezaie proposed the creation of National Development Trust (NDT) to invest profits from the country’s huge oil exports in development projects. Rezaie’s NDT will be run as a public trust whose shares will be divided among the Iranian citizens. Karrubi wanted to distribute the oil profits among the citizens by directly paying $73/month (700,000 rials a month) to all citizens above the age of 18, an approach that has been widely criticized as hyper inflationary.

On political front, Karrubi emphasized the importance of implementing all the existing laws guaranteeing basic freedoms of the citizens, and creating new laws to expand those freedoms. Rezaie believed the implementation of the current laws can guarantee the basic freedoms in the country. Rezaie also emphasized the importance of forming a government of national unity to tackle the mounting problems facing the country.

On Wednesday, former premier Mir-Hossein Mousavi will debate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They are the two leading candidates in the 12 June elections.

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