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Iranian Presidential Candidates Hold Second TV Debate

  • RFE/RL

Iran's presidential candidates pose for a group photo after their live debate on state TV in Tehran on May 31.

Iran's presidential candidates pose for a group photo after their live debate on state TV in Tehran on May 31.

Eight Iranian presidential candidates have held their second debate on state television.

The debate focused on art and culture. Candidates were given four minutes each to outline their policies regarding those issues.

Several candidates, including former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani and university professor Mohammad Reza Aref, said the government's control of art and cultural affairs should be minimized. Rohani said that "censorship kills creativity."

Rohani also criticized what he described as draconian restrictions imposed on students in the past decade.

Former speaker of parliament Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said Iranians will be able to "combat the Western cultural invasion only when they fully understand their own culture first."

Much of the candidates’ first debate on May 31 focused on economy and social issues, including job creation, affordable housing, and how to tackle Iran’s widespread unemployment and inflation.

LIVE BLOG: Iranian Presidential Candidates' Debate

On May 21, the Guardians Council, which supervises the electoral process, approved only eight of nearly 700 individuals who registered as candidates for the June 14 vote.

The approved candidates include former parliament speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Said Jalili, former Vice President Mohsen Rezai, senior cleric and former nuclear negotiator Rohani, professor Aref, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi, and former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati.
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