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Tehran Friday Prayer Leader calls for live broadcast of presidential election debates

Tehran’s Provisional Friday Leader today called for live televised broadcast of the forthcoming presidential election debates, saying the measure would boost the people’s insight and knowledge about the candidates.

The live broadcast of the debates among the presidential candidates would be “one of the best ways” to enhance the Iranian people’s awareness and help them identify the best hopeful, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani said in his Friday Prayer sermons at the sprawling Imam Khomeini Mosalla.

He made the remarks after the Election Campaign Monitoring Committee said on Thursday that the debates would be broadcast in recorded version. Its decision has drawn widespread criticism among Iranian officials and people.

Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani asked for a high turnout in the May 19 election, which he described as “a tough test.”

He added: “Through its massive turnout in the elections, [the Iranian nation] must prove that the Islamic establishment is strong and enjoys the backing of its people. The people should prove their political awareness by electing the most appropriate candidate.”

The Ayatollah called on the candidates to avoid making promises that they would fail to carry out.

Campaigning officially started on Friday for the 12th presidential election, a day after the Interior Ministry announced the final list of six candidates. The 5th City and Village Councils Elections will also be held on the same day.