As the June 12 presidential election draws near, it seems that incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad is getting increasingly aggressive and ruthless toward his rivals.
During a televised face-to-face debate on June 6, Ahmadinejad accused his reformist rival, Mehdi Karrubi, of corruption.
He questioned the 72-year-old cleric and former speaker of parliament about $300,000 allegedly paid to him by Shahram Jazayeri, who is now in prison after being convicted of financial crimes.
Karrubi in turn accused Ahmadinejad of trying to lend $700 million to an unnamed leader of a foreign country.
During the debate, Ahmadinejad also defended his economic policies, claiming that the Iranian economy has grown during his four years in office.
The president seems to be blissfully unaware of widespread criticism of his mishandling of the economy, which many say has resulted in widespread unemployment and high inflation.
He claimed the income of the poor actually rose thanks to his policies.
Karrubi suggested that "the government must be honest to the people." He said all the figures given by Ahmadinejad were "contradictory to the ones we have seen over the years."
"Lying is the worst sin in Islam," the cleric said.
-- Farangis Najibullah