The first televised debate among the presidential candidates was aired on Friday on Iran’s state television.
All eight candidates participated in the event and responded to questions about their economic plans.
The debate format was unprecedented, and the facilitator claimed it was the result of “hours of expert planning.”
The facilitator claimed the questions posed to the candidates were developed in secret and were not revealed to anyone beforehand; however, candidates did not get a chance to truly challenge each other in the responses and on many occasions they merely complemented another candidate’s statement.
Mohammadreza Aref, however, raised the most controversial issue in the debate, saying the country’s economic problems stemmed from the hegemony of conservatives over the economy, and similarly the influence of military-sponsored bodies over the economy.
Conservative candidates challenged the statement and claimed this mode of reasoning was highly “divisive” and thus unfruitful.
The second part, a sort of testing of the candidates with multiple-choice questions, was challenged by Mohammadreza Aref and Mohsen Rezai, who stated that the candidates were not being given a chance to challenge each other’s views.
In another portion of the program, the facilitator showed each candidate a picture and for a comment on it. This format was also denounced by several candidates.
The eight candidates will debate twice more before the June 14 election.