IRGC-Affiliated Paper Slams Rouhani For Attack On Candidates | Iran International

IRGC-Affiliated Paper Slams Rouhani For Attack On Candidates

Thursday's edition of the hardliner Javan newspaper affiliated with the revolutionary Guard carried two articles responding to President Hassan Rouhani's criticism of presidential election candidates for their attacks on his administration's performance.

At a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani sarcastically charged that the five hardliner candidates chosen by the Guardian Council were “Martians” who did not know much about the state of the affairs in Iran. The candidates, all of them part and parcel of the regime during the past four decades blamed the Rouhani administration for the country's problems mindless of the impact of US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic on the administration's ability to tackle serious problems.

Javan newspaper's analyst Kobra Asoupar characterized Rouhani's counterattack as "angry and chaotic", adding that "Rouhani's body language and his loud voice indicated that the Iranian President has lost his concentration" because of the criticisms by the candidates during the past week.

Asoupar said that Rouhani was utterly surprised that none of the candidates defended him and his performance during the past eight years.

This comes while at least one candidate, former Central bank governor Abdolnasser Hemmati, maintained that Rouhani was better than all the candidates in this year's election although he also said that like them, Rouhani knew very little about the economy.

Asoupar charged that "Rouhani is angry because he cannot stop criticism of his government's performance on state television by threatening and exerting pressure on the broadcaster" as he has no control over what candidates say during televised debates.  

She said while Rouhani lashed out at the candidates for behaving unethically, he forgot that "during the past eight years he called his critics illiterate, disillusioned, radical, violent, arrogant, imprudent, and profiteers, and told them to go ho to hell."

Asoupar pointed out that while Rouhani accused the candidates of criticising only his administration, he implied that the armed forces, the parliament and the judiciary also had problems. She said the reason the candidates mainly talked about the administration is that the debates and the election are about choosing a new president.

Elsewhere in the article, Asoupar accused Rouhani of "not listening to the people's protest." She said: "He has ruled out any protest by labelling it as a political act. Now he is hearing the protests in the candidates' debate at an open forum." She argued that even if the criticisms are not fairly spelled out, Rouhani should think why the candidates believe that criticising the administration will make them popular. "You cannot cover up the incompetence and inefficiency people are talking about at their homes," Asoupar maintained.

Both in this article and in another article on its frontpage, Javan claimed that during the past eight years, Rouhani blamed previous governments and other institutions whenever he found it difficult to defend his administration against the charges of incompetency.

Javan also reminded that although the Rouhani administration has officially called for airtime on state television to defend itself against the remarks made by the candidates, Rouhani did not wait for that opportunity and used the live coverage of the cabinet meeting to vent his frustration.

The daily also charged that during the campaigns and televised debates in 2017, Rouhani as a candidate "accused the Islamic Republic of 38 years of executing and imprisoning its critics, while trying to tarnish the image of his rival" [Ebrahim Raeesi]. Javan charged that later when Rouhani was criticized for the remark, he justified it by the election-time fervor.

While charging that Rouhani failed to deliver the economic promises he had made in 2013 and 2017 elections, hardliners ignore the impact of US sanctions because they know that discussing the issue would mean that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as the chief decider might be responsible for the country’s economic crisis.

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