Rouhani slams conservative rival for tax evasion

IFP- Iranian presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani has lashed out at Raisi, one of his conservative rivals, for refusing to pay taxes in the charitable foundation he runs.

Iranian presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani harshly criticized his rivals over their comments during their election campaigns and televised debates so far.

Rouhani particularly took a swipe at presidential hopeful Ebrahim Raisi for his comments regarding tax evasion and the necessity of paying taxes.

“They talk of the need to pay taxes. Have you ever paid taxes in the place you are managing?” said Rouhani, in an apparent allusion to Raisi, who is the custodian of the Imam Reza holy shrine, known as Astan Quds Razavi, in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad.

“You are managing an institution which no one dares criticize,” said Rouhani.

Rouhani further touched upon the freedom of expression and lambasted some of the candidates for what he called their background in suppressing the freedom of speech.

He said those who muzzle freedom of expression should not talk about freedom.

Rouhani then referred to comments by some candidates regarding sanctions.

“Are you upset because the business you had made out of anti-Iran sanctions have stagnated in recent years?” asked Rouhani.

“We are opposed to Iran being under sanctions or be cut off [from the rest of the world]. The people want to live in peace with the rest of the world.”

“The person whose associates imported six million tons of wheat to provide bread for people cannot talk of exporting wheat,” he added.

“You talk of [improving the livelihoods of] pensioners. [But one should ask] how are the retirees of your institution doing?” Rouhani further criticized.

Rouhani also slammed the performance of ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government.

“There are some individuals who were at the helm of affairs in the country for eight years, and you saw what they did to Iran and the younger generation,” he noted.

“Some media remained silent for eight years, and now that 650 thousand jobs are created annually, they speak of employment.”

“Some 800 thousand women lost their jobs during the eight years when the previous administration was in power; but in this administration, 750 thousand women were employed every year for three and a half years,” he added.