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Iran’s six presidential candidates participated in the country’s first live debate ahead of the country’s presidential elections, which will be held on June 28th following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

This debate began a series of five debates planned within the next ten days in a shortened campaign to replace Raisi. The discussion primarily focused on Iran’s struggling economy, which is heavily impacted by sanctions from the United States and other Western countries.


Each candidate vowed to seek the lifting of these sanctions and proposed reforms, though specific plans were largely absent. Topics such as Iran’s budget deficit, the housing crisis, and inflation were also addressed during the debates.


Among the candidates, five are considered hard-liners, with Masoud Pezeshkian standing out as a 69-year-old heart surgeon supported by some pro-reform factions. Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, a former Tehran mayor with ties to the Revolutionary Guard, remains the most prominent candidate despite a controversial past involving violent crackdowns on student protests. Other notable candidates include Vice-President Amir Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi, Tehran’s current mayor Ali Reza Zakani, Supreme National Security Council member Saeed Jalili, and cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi, a former interior minister.

Notably, none of the candidates discussed a possible renewed nuclear deal with western countries.


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