Pres­i­dent crit­i­cizes US pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani yes­ter­day crit­i­cised the US pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates’ be­haviour dur­ing their re­cent de­bates. “Did you see the de­bate and the way of their speak­ing, ac­cus­ing and mock­ing each other? Do we want such a democ­racy in our coun­try? Do we want such elec­tions in our coun­try?” Rouhani said, speak­ing to a crowd in the Ira­nian city of Arak. “You see the United States that claims it has had democ­racy for more than 200 years,” he said in com­ments broad­cast live by state TV. “Look at the coun­try, what the sit­u­a­tion is where moral­ity has no place.” Rouhani said that dur­ing his Septem­ber visit to the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, he was asked which of the can­di­dates he pre­ferred. “I said what? Should I pre­fer bad to worse or worse to bad?” Iran’s state TV has broad­cast two of the de­bates be­tween Don­ald Trump and Hillary Clin­ton in full. It has closely fol­lowed the cam­paign, of­ten high­light­ing eco­nomic and so­cial prob­lems in the US and the most con­fronta­tional de­bate seg­ments. Rouhani’s speech marked his first pub­lic com­ment on the US elec­tion. Iran will hold its own pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in May 2017, and Rouhani is el­i­gi­ble to seek a sec­ond term. Last month, hard-line for­mer Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad said he will not run in the elec­tion. Op­po­si­tion to his can­di­dacy ex­posed the still-lin­ger­ing wounds from the wide­spread un­rest that fol­lowed his con­tested 2009 re-elec­tion. De­spite a land­mark nu­clear deal with the United States and world pow­ers that went into ef­fect in Jan­uary, Tehran and Wash­ing­ton have not re­stored diplo­matic ties that were cut af­ter the 1979 Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion and US Em­bassy takeover. The deal capped Iran’s dis­puted nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties in re­turn for lift­ing in­ter­na­tional nu­clear-re­lated sanc­tions.

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