The third round of debate among the eight Iranian presidential hopefuls became a scene of debate over Iran’s nuclear program.
One of the candidates, Saeed Jalili, has been Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Jalili became the target of heavy criticism from the other candidates for failing to achieve any progress in the talks and was blamed for failing to remedy the intensification of international sanctions against the country.
While this line of reasoning was not unexpected from reformist candidates such as Hassan Rohani and Mohammadreza Aref, it was unusual to see conservative candidates such as Ali Akbar Velayati, Iranian Supreme Leader’s adviser on international affairs, criticize Jalili just as pointedly over his handling of the nuclear talks.
Jalili was criticized by almost all of the other candidates for his lack of flexibility in the nuclear negotiations.
Today, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who was chief nuclear negotiator before Mr. Jalili, reacted to the candidates’ statements, saying Iran’s principled stance of emphasizing its right to peaceful nuclear exploitation has never been under question; however, different individuals might have a difference of opinion on how to pursue this aim.