The Iranian presidential candidates spent the third debate accusing each other of corruption and other crimes, which showed how the ruling theocracy’s infighting is increasing dramatically as they struggle to hold onto power.
One candidate, Mohsen Mehralizadeh, spoke about how the dissatisfaction of the people with the current system means that the smallest of social issues spark protests and even become a crisis in their own right, highlighting the fuel price increase that preceded the November 2019 major protests.
He said: “Look at the cases of individuals like Isa Sharifi, who was afflicted to [parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf]; it has been left unattended for four years. He had embezzled billions of tomans. No one cares. Look at the case of Babak Zanjani. If these cases were clarified, people would have trusted.”
Mehalizadeh then admitted that the people’s call for an election boycott is growing by the day because the people are unfulfilled.
Of course, he was far from the only official criticising his rivals and blaming them for the issues facing the country.
Amir Hossain Ghazizadeh-Hashemi acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged the country and forced people to choose between putting food on the table or possibly dying from Covid. He said that officials and affiliates have enjoyed some benefits but the people are losing their jobs because resources are unfairly distributed.
He said: “If [officials] had a bit of decency, our national athletes were not street vendors, and people were not plundered. People are frustrated because they see no decency in the system.”
Mohsen Rezai, a former Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander, acknowledged that the mafia and children of officials control the economy.
While Alireza Zakani spoke about liquidity increasing six times to 3.5 quadrillion tomans and the monetary base more than doubling to 50 trillion tomans, calling for former central bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati to answer for this.
He said: “Inflation of 52% is a catastrophe created by the government of Hassan Rouhani. The government has tried to manage itself using people’s belongings. As a result, liquidity has increased sixfold, today there is a conflict between plunderers and those plundered.”
Then, when the issue turned to the November 2019 fuel price increase, with Hemmati trying to deny responsibility for this, Zakani accused him of lying, citing a September 2019 official letter where Hemmati supposedly demanded that the price be increased to fix the budget deficit.
Of course, while they are accusing each other of crimes, none of the candidates really care about the people.
The Iranian Resistance (NCRI) wrote: “The regime’s increasing infighting reflects officials’ fear of Iranian people underlined that they “neither forgive nor forget” the mullahs’ forty years of oppression and corruption. So these so-called candidates are fighting over more power so they could further plunder people.”