Glimpses of 3rd presidential election debate

IRNA – Six candidates who are standing for the 12th presidential election in Iran offered their viewpoints and plans on economic issues in a group debate carried live on state radio and television channels Friday afternoon.

Ebrahim Raeisi, the custodian of Imam Reza (AS) holy shrine, Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, former minister of culture and Islamic guidance Mostafa Mirsalim and former minister of physical education Mostafa Hashemi Taba, as well as President Hassan Rouhani are the six candidates to compete in May 19 presidential elections

The following is a brief look at what the candidates said in the debate:

Hassan Rouhani:
Rouhani said if reelected, he will remove the remaining sanctions imposed on Iran as he removed all the nuclear-related sanctions on the country in his first term in power.

He said he has no plan to cut the monthly cash subsidies paid to low-income Iranian people. Rouhani, however, argued that the increase in monthly cash handouts promised by other candidates will rise inflation rate to above 50%.

Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf:
Qalibaf said that the system of taxation must become fair. Minor producers and businesspersons have to be exempted from paying taxes, he argued.

Urging the necessity to deal with unemployment problem, Qalibaf said that based on official statistics, the number of jobless Iranians are 3.5 million. He said that unofficial sources put the number of the unemployed between 6 and 7 million.

Ebrahim Raeisi:
Raeisi argued that poverty has exacerbated during the government of President Rouhani, increasing from 23% to 33%. He reiterated his previous promises to increase monthly cash subsidies paid to the low-income people.

Mostafa Mirsalim:
Mirsalim said that economic prosperity has to be coupled with an increase in provision of goods and services. He accused the government of President Rouhani of creating recession in its attempt to rein in inflation.

Eshaq Jahangiri:
Jahangiri said if the next government tries to triple the cash subsidies, it will act contrary to its goals.

Mostafa Hashemi Taba:
Hashemi Taba hailed government’s achievements in curbing inflation, saying that increasing cash subsidies would lead to a drastic rise of inflation rate.