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Iran presidential candidates Qalibaf, Raeisi request face-to-face debates with Rouhani

Two candidates contesting Iran’s 12th presidential election, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, have requested separate face-to-face televised debates with another contestant Hassan Rouhani.

The campaign of Raeisi called for a one-on-one debate with the incumbent president.

Mohammad Amin Tavakkolizadeh, a representative of Raeisi’s camp, made the request on Saturday in separate letters to the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Abdolali Ali-Askari, and the head of Iran’s Election Campaign Monitoring Committee, Ehsan Qazizadeh.

Meanwhile, the head of Qalibaf’s campaign, Mohammad Dehqan, said in a post on his Twitter account that Rouhani must respond to the public opinion about the comments he made during the third and last live televised debate among the six presidential candidates on Friday.

He added that Tehran’s mayor is ready to hold face-to-face debate “anywhere and at any time.”

In the last live face-off among the six presidential hopefuls, during a verbal back and forth candidates accused each other of corruption and economic mismanagement a week ahead of the polls.

In the debate, Raeisi criticized Rouhani for passing the blame for the economic issues on to the previous administration and called for a debate between the incumbent and previous administrations. Rouhani responded that he would be ready for a debate with Raeisi since, according to what he said, some high-profile figures in Raeisi’s camp held office in the previous administration.

The debate gathered Rouhani, Qalibaf, First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, member of Iran’s Expediency Council Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, Raeisi, the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) in the northeastern city of Mashhad, and former vice president Mostafa Hashemi-Taba.

Iranians will go to the polls on May 19 to elect the country’s next president.

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