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Mousavi - Ahmadinejad June 3 Presidential Debate Transcript

A statue adorned with green, the color of Mir-Hossein Mousavi's campaign, sits amid a supporters' rally on June 8, 2009. (Photo by Shahram Sharif, available at Flickr)

 

Unofficial transcript transcribed from IranNegah.com English-dubbed video of the debate and edited by Critical Threats Project team members. When dubbing proved unrelaiablranscript editors used their best judgment to describe the original meaning of the statements below when dubbing proved unreliable.  Please find a summary of the debate and key quotes here.

 

Ahmadinejad:

All we have nowadays—Elections are a destiny making Iran. Elections now in our country are not only picking one single person; it also means people getting energized for taking leaps toward conquering peaks of success and development. The atmosphere, the air of the vote should be one of fervent zeal and excitement. It should be replete with logic, friendship, and conversions and brotherhood.

At the beginning I would like to make some complaints about some unfair, and let’s call it, cruel attitude and approaches and some great lies and sabotaging against the government. In the history after the Islamic revolution, we never had this, be it in the term of one single government or in the course of an election. We never saw any heavy attack and wave of criticism launched against any government. I think the reason is the friends who decided to enter the stage, they thought maybe they could never compete with this government in any other constructive arena, especially in the field of extensive services of the government, which has been unprecedented in any sector we enter in comparison to previous governments. Of course they have also rendered some valuable services, but the function of the government, the performance of this government has been tantamount to the performance of several governments.

On the international level, unfortunately great successes of the people have been ignored. The services of the government were troubly [sic] ignored.  I wish they would, instead of launching this adverse propaganda and criticizing, they would put forward a plan in the electoral campaign. Unfortunately the great people of Iran were insulted. So I regret this deeply. Why should we disappoint people with ourselves? Why should we be so infatuated with power?

I personally am not keen on touching on such issues. Four years, I tolerated all this.  I tolerated all the insults directed at me myself. I forgave it all; I still like to forgive all this. I’ve announced this several times, but I cannot allow people to be insulted, peoples’ choice and actually peoples’ understanding; this, I cannot let go. People do not allow me to take it easy on this when they are being insulted, their dignity is being insulted. In my meetings with people in various cities and people from different walks of life, extensively they come and ask me to go to their defense and defend their positions.

The root of these misdemeanors, and these lies and these deceptions, these should be publicized. I had already promised people to let them know what is happening, and I think today Mr. Mousavi is not sitting in front of me. It is not Mr. Mousavi alone. It’s three consecutive governments in front of me, facing me. It’s Mr. Mousavi, it’s Mr. Hashemi, and it’s also Mr. Khatami. The three served in previous governments. Mr. Mousavi supported Mr. Khatami in the previous term, and he also supported Mr. Hashemi. And Mr. Hashemi also supported Mr. Khatami.  As a matter of fact, these people have always been joining forces together and they have been attacking this government, criticizing this government, and trying to hurt this government. Of course people already know all about this, but the youths should also know, realize the fact that in not standing and not competing, one single candidate, it’s a group of people with Mr. Hashemi as an axis and Mr. Khamati and Mr. Mousavi cooperating [with] him, moving against me.

The reason for this heavy pressure on me in the past four years and also heavier pressure during the election days, during the electoral campaign, I think this goes back to—comes down to one thing: in the past three governments, the administrative structures were formed, some managerial chains were formed, took shape, and they went awry. They distanced themselves from the values of the Islamic Revolution. I don’t mean that no services were rendered, but gradually there was a current that came into appearance, they acted as if they possessed the government and the revolution and they manipulated [it] and they had an open hand in doing everything they wanted to do. In the previous election, they stood in front of me, but people defeated them. In the past four years they tried to render this government unsuccessful and tried to crush it, but with the blessing of God Almighty and with the support of the people, so far we have treaded the path. We are here now and the previous election from inside the country, from outside. My rival received backing and support. At the beginning of this very government, Mr. Hashemi sent a message to one of the kings of the Persian Gulf [inaudible] states and told them not to be worried: within six months, that this government will collapse. And later on some people went there and gave them mixed [inaudible] and that story came to an end.

Well, this clearly means, that extensive planning against this government, whereas this government has been only serving people. In the short period of four years, it has achieved great honors domestically and internationally. Of course this is the job of the people themselves. You can see that people, their capacities are flourishing in different fronts, in science, in technology, in politics, especially in foreign policy, the people of Iran are being respected, among one of the most respected nations in the world, but all these are being ignored and the greatest lies and insults in the four years, especially the last three months, have come our way.

Of course I like Mr. Mousavi and have always respected him, but what has been happening in the past three months, this is not justifiable for me. Mr. Mousavi, if we want to realize there are problems in this country, we do not have to necessarily have an actor in a bus. I’m sure there is addiction.

In the course of the trips you made across the country, you realize that there are problems across the country. Are these problems all created in the past four years? What about the 24 years before that? Does it mean that there was a heaven, and a utopia, and you delivered that to me, and your friends delivered that to me, and I turned it to hell, and nothing positive has been done? Recently [inaudible] we have employment.

You just visited four or five provinces, and I have seen the whole of the country, and If I’m going to talk about problems people have, I should spend all the time of this session to talk about those problems, still will be short of time. Have you just realized we have problems? We have no unemployment before, no addiction before, no problems at workshops and factories, no agricultural problems? No issues, industrial problems? Are all of them related to this government term? I wish you had offered a plan. One more sentence, I have one more statement. I was kidding somewhere I said, as a joke, I said, it’s unlucky I’m also a candidate or else the three other candidates, what would they have to tell people?

And I should also add to this that during this electoral campaign there is no competition between four people, there are three people against one. Whatever they say, even the debate last night, it was not a debate at all; it was all against one person. I think this is illogical, it holds no water, and we should work on justice.

Moderator:

Thank you very much. Mr. Mir-Hossein Mousavi, please.

Mousavi:

 In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. I would like to thank [inaudible] viewers and very good points were made, and I’m going to just discuss them and give my answers in a methodological manner.

First of all, I really wish that Mr. Ahmadinejad had succeeded in his endeavors, and I wouldn’t touch the problems if I had this conviction, then definitely it wouldn’t be necessary not to enter into the race. I’ll make a few points, and then I’ll talk about the main points. 

Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mr. Khatami are great figures, and they have to participate in the debate that Mr. Ahmadinejad and give answers to his points. I entered the race because I felt the danger. In fact, I’m not going to touch the era of Mr. Khatami and Mr. Rafsanjani. During the first years he’s talking about is when I was in power during the lifetime of Imam Khomeini, and if necessary I’ll give answers to his points. Overall, I have always loved Iran, and I think that this love is different in all of us. I cannot find any Iranian, I think, not to be honored to be an Iranian and wouldn’t be concerned about the future of Iran or not to be concerned about the difficulties and problems.  All want Iran to be great and prosperous. I wish Iran to play a role as the first power in the region in economic areas and scientific areas and other fields. So, the revolution was in fact launched in order to have a great Islamic Iran, to have an influential Iran, to be able to leave an impact on the world, and import a message to the world.

That in solving the problems of the country and in order to achieve the proper place—in our proper place, I think that there are two ways. There can be two methods of management in this regard. One is on the basis of adventurism and instability and exhibitionism and raising slogans, imaginative moves and also superstition and the basis of selfishness, self-centeredness, and not abiding by the rule of law and also on the basis of going to extremes. So I’m going to just base my discussion on the basis of this framework. Okay. Another method is very logical and professional moves away from superstition also on the basis of [inaudible], faithfulness, relying on the collective wisdom and being futuristic and also on the basis of moderation. If we want to have a powerful Iran, I think that the second method is more suitable.

We have to move on the basis of the second methodology or method. Indeed, you talked about the plans, my plans; I have written my plans and problems, and I think I have three debates which people like to just watch, and I think the debates are complementary to each other, contrary to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s viewpoint because I offer my viewpoints during the debates.  What is important in this debate is the main incentive for me to enter the race. As a matter of fact, I really—I’m concerned about the future of the country because of the present management of the country, and since you talked about the foreign policy, let me touch the foreign policy first and then I will touch the economic, cultural and social affairs.

One of the main problems we are facing, I will just discuss them case by case so that it will be tangible for all. I’m not going to just talk in general terms. I will give you examples. One of the problems is incompatibility between slogans and principles. The slogans are away from principles, they are imaginary indeed. You know, when we say that so-and-so country is collapsing, and we are going to manage the world—these are slogans, and there is no practical backing.

Let me give you an example. A few examples indeed. You know, the release of the British marines. You know, the marines invaded or encroached upon Iranian waters and then the forces arrested them. It was a great job and should be acknowledged indeed. But immediately on the basis of the framework I mentioned, in the first place we said that we have to execute them. Why did they have encroached on Iranian territory or waters? And we created a crisis and then we decided to give them suits to wear, and then our president whose status doesn’t belongs to himself, it belongs to the people, it belongs to you, and then he went there and sold them off and said goodbye to them and then arranged a ceremony that we don’t even organize for the heads of other countries. Did it really preserve the dignity of our nation? I don’t think so. It inflicted a loss and indeed it undermined the dignity of the Iranian nation, and it created some ups and downs in our foreign policy [for which we] will costly pay. We cannot solve our problems.

And then the head of the government had a trip to Iraq without clarifying how, he said that they’re going to kidnap me, so if they’re going to kidnap you, probably the Americans should kidnap you. The Americans, in fact, provided the fuel of the airplane that you traveled with. And then, in Iraq, we went to [Basra?]  which is [inaudible] by Americans and then you had the meeting and then we had photos with the American soldiers, and the same event happened in Italy, and you said that they are going to kidnap us? So should we expand our imaginations to the extent that it would just influence our foreign policy which is within the realm of our national interests? Should we solve our problems or should we create some problems so that it inflicts loss on us?

And then it’s the issue of Saudi Arabia. I have heard from others, and it has been a number of times, in the past, I was in power. It is very important how we are invited to other countries, and then we gave message to them to invite us to go to Saudi Arabia. And the friends who are in the foreign ministry have said, and I quote them regarding our demand for being invited to go to Saudi Arabia, and then when we go, there should be some result out of these visits. And then one of the results is the situation that our [inaudible] face and our relations with Saudi Arabia. And then coaching the head of that country, we talked something against the foreign minister of that country, and then we created some problems in our relations. Why should we impose this cost? Who’s going to pay those costs? And are they really very heavy or not?

And then, a number of times, we have heard that, we believe that the United States is collapsing. If it is so, why we have traveled there four times? Why have we written two letters? Why continuously we are after just in a specific manner… the Swiss president has gone there and spoken in the parliament and I think he wouldn’t take a risk to lie, saying that he has been asked to give a message to Obama to talk to us before the elections, to somehow solve the problems and the relations between the two countries. Is it in the interest of our country? Is it in our interest? I just enumerate them so that I give the headlines only because you started from foreign policy. In foreign policy indeed we have undermined the dignity of our nation, of our nation and of our country, and it has inflicted heavy damages on us, and we have created problems for our government and we have created tension with other countries… Only one more minute and then you can count it at end.

Moderator:

Well, your time is actually over.  Please make it very brief.

Mousavi:

I’ll make it brief. Well, the Holocaust is another issue. We have set forth, and then after just enduring some losses, again, then you know, that in international organizations and in the Security Council, you know they have an [inaudible] study against Holocaust. You know, what happened when I watched the footages, I couldn’t believe that our president should be treated in this manner because he is the symbol of our country, and I will later talk about [inaudible] regarding the prestige and dignity of the Iranian nation. And then they announced it as an epic. Was it an epic? You know there was another resolution on Holocaust, and then the relationship between Europe and Israel had deteriorated but after this event again, because of Gaza, but again they supported Israel, where we safeguarded our interests—okay, since  10 minutes has come to an end, then I will just explain later.

Moderator:

Thank you very much. Mr. Ahmadinejad, please.

Ahmadinejad:

Thank you very much, Mr. Mousavi. I think if all the judgments that you have are based on what you said, you should seriously revise all this, I’m telling you as a friend. I like you as a person, and such judgments based on false data and information, it’s too bad. Sailors from Britain were arrested [inaudible]. Mr. Blair wrote a letter in which he apologized and he said our policies regarding Iran will change those policies. This is a document at the Iranian Foreign Minister; it’s there. And then we divided these issues. One of the best things that the Islamic Republic has done was its attitude toward those British sailors. For twenty-seven, eight years, including Mr. Mousavi’s era, they call us anti-human, they call us aggressors and hostage takers. This is what they told the world about us. There, in that incident, we separated the people of England from the government of England. That was the best thing that could be [done].

Regarding Saudi Arabia, unlike what Mr. Mousavi says, I don’t know where, on what basis he’s talking about this. In the OPEC meeting with… King Abdullah had told me earlier the previous year, to, invited me to go there Mecca to attend an Islamic summit meeting. I told him that I had no chance; I was just beginning my work. It was the early days of the government, and he said, would you come to Mecca during the OPEC meeting.  And I told him, if he invites me, I will go there. The invitation was only for pilgrimage and watch rituals; it was not a political visit. And it was, Mr. Mousavi should have seen the footage when we entered the place. There was a wave among Muslims, and there were speeches and excitement, and they welcomed, favored the Iranian nation.

Regarding the issue of Holocaust, it’s so interesting that Mr. Mousavi— In Saudi Arabia, how’s the relation with Saudi Arabia? How was the relation with Saudi Arabia during Mr. Mousavi’s time? I don’t want to mention what happened at his time and what happened at the airport. The other thing I want to say is that our ties were severed. He performed in a way that ties with Saudi Arabia got totally severed.  And I am amazed he is worried about ties with Saudi Arabia now. We are also worried about that. Who is writing articles and using harsh criticisms? Some of our friends who are now working in Mr. Mousavi’s election campaign committee, they never believed in such things.

Regarding the occupied Palestine, Mr. Mousavi should remember his own stances in the past. Mr. Mousavi had explicitly announced that we will send military forces to go stand alongside the Palestinian resistance to fight against the occupiers. Mr. Mousavi announced that the Zionist regime must be wiped out. But Mr. Mousavi said, we are not going to enter these details; we will talk about tactics, we’ll go the wrong way. The general diplomacy today is the most advanced scientific, diplomatic diplomacy. When the enemy has captured the main positions in the world, if we’re going to go play in his field, then we will definitely face failure. That’s what happened during Mr. Hashemi’s government. During Mr. Khatami’s government, the same thing happened, and you supported them. We acted outside the formulation devised by the great powers. And this is what the late Imam taught us. He never accepted the formulations. Had we accepted their formulations, we could have never started the Revolution.

Regarding the nuclear program, you definitely know that what was adopted by the previous government in the name of removing tension, it reached a point where our nuclear installations were totally shut down. There were two contracts imposed on our people then. The additional protocol was one of them, without parliamentary ratification, which is against the Constitutional law. And the second one was the executive arrangements. In the additional protocol case, International Atomic Energy Agencies are free to inspect any part of Iran any time they wish to, and the goal is to check out our defense capability and give the intelligence to our enemy.

The second issue in the executive arrangements if you call it, they said that if there is any thought, any ideas in the minds of our scientists, nuclear scientists, before taking any action, the agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, should be informed about this. Nothing worse than this could be imposed on a nation. Based on the NPT, we can’t have any activities. 180 days before enrichment, we should notify them in advance. The nuclear installations were shut down. All of them were sealed off. Two contracts were imposed. And within that time, for your information, Mr. Mousavi, seven resolutions by the Board of Governors were issued against us whereas a retreat was absolute. That resolution is more important that the US Security Council Resolution. It’s only political what happens in the US Security Council. But the Board of Governors at the IAEA, the resolution issued by them is binding legally, it binds us to do certain things. All of the claims made by the International Atomic Energy Agency during this government were settled, and we have the document, the letter from the IAEA explaining that basic issues are solved. And in the midst, Americans raise another claim and they are following that through, and we never gave recognition to that.

In Salabat, in Brussels, and Paris, what happened there, Mr. Mousavi? Today we are nuclear for three centrifuges. If you look at the memos of the meetings, you can see we have 7000 centrifuges working now. Mr. Bush, after all of this cooperation Iran had with them in Afghanistan, announced that Iran is an axis of evil. There, nothing happened to Iran’s dignity. He threatened Iran with military attack. But what about now? Mr. Bush, during his last days, said that we are not after toppling the Islamic establishment.

And Mr. Obama also expressly said, 27 years during your government, Mr. Khatami’s  government, America was after toppling the Islamic establishment. Today, they announced we are not after this. Officially they say this.

Which foreign policy has been more successful? Which has created, which has brought humiliation for this nation? Which foreign policy preserved our independence? Which gave more concessions to outsiders without any achievements? For 15 years, Europeans said we want to criticize Iran, and on the table they raised some issues that Iran is not observing human rights, asking two questions about Holocaust. And two questions, those two questions questioned the whole human rights system in the West. They’re crying, they’re shouting, Israelis are shouting. Some people in the West are shouting. And some people say, Iran’s dignity is being questioned. How is that? How can you say that? Can we wait for the enemy to come to our soil and confront them?

Today the threat is not directed at Iran. Of course, all of this is thanks to peoples’ steadfastness and to the sacrifices of the great nation of Iran and the leadership. And I’m surprised, if Mr. Mousavi takes a trip outside of Iran he can see how he is greeted by Third World nations? How many foreign ministers did he [meet] as Prime Minster? Was Iran humiliated then? We were also respected then, but in the eyes of bullying powers, it was not so. If Mr. Mousavi thinks that we should try to favor and please three or four major powers, this is against the late Imam’s ideas and the values of the Islamic Revolution and our independence. If we are going to have ties with the great masses of people and governments around the world, a great number of foreign dignitaries and personalities traveled to Iran in the past four years. One hundred eighteen members of the Non-Aligned Movement supported our nuclear program.

Moderator:

Mr. Ahmadinejad, your time is over.

Ahmadinejad:

Mr. Mousavi, I wanted to tell you, I really like you, but you say you are worried. I have a question for you. During Mr. Hashemi’s government, the inflation rate was 49.5%, 49 billion dollars was what we had as foreign debt at this time. Social crises were hitting many of our major cities at that time. A large number of people got killed. Didn’t you feel worried at that time when sanctions were imposed?  20 million dollars, many countries that had a contract with Iran, over 20 million dollars then was going to be boycotted, and the inflation rate was almost to 50%, and you were not concerned at that time.  During the eighteenth of [inaudible] there was a movement that was going to capture Tehran and move towards the government centers, and they were supported from outside. They were going to have what they called ‘velvet revolution.’ And you were not concerned then? And when in the Islamic [inaudible] they staged a sit-in, and from there they contacted US Congress and asked them from help. How come you were not concerned at that time?

Moderator:

Mr. Ahmadinejad, your time is over.

Ahmadinejad:

We have 45 minutes. Why can’t we speak two more minutes now?

Weren’t you concerned then? Today you are talking about why we mentioned Holocaust. I have my question. Why not raise the issue of Holocaust? Why should we wait for Europeans to come and talk about human rights in our country?  Why shouldn’t we tell them that they have no freedom, that they are exploiting other nations, that they are suffocating world people? Foreign policy of this government stems from people. It rises from the Imam’s values, and it brings dignity. You can see that for yourself. The world can see that. How could they retreat?

How can you call this… the Red Line was the UN Security Council? The UN Security Council had its resolutions, they had their sanctions. What happened? What can they do now? Can we be lenient towards arrogant powers? How is that possible? In Tehran, they wrote articles that the helm of the late imam is gone. You announced—you kept silent. The then government supported that person who wrote that article. You kept silent. Now, you’re saying we’re deviating from the Imam’s path. I like you, but I cannot forgive the insults being directed at a nation.

Moderator:

Thank you very much. Mr. Mir-Hossein Mousavi, please.

Mousavi:

Well, you talked about the imam’s line or path. Let me just narrate a memory from those days. Once Israelis attacked south Lebanon and inside the country, there was a unity, a consensus, that we should dispatch forces to expel them from Lebanon and fight side by side by the Lebanese. And the [unclear] had to lead the forces, and there were some forces for the deployment of the forces to study in Lebanon. The night before we had to send the forces we had a meeting of the three heads of the branches of the government, and then [unclear] came and said, Imam has said, “the way of Quds goes through Karabala.” That is, you have to concentrate on your war. You have nothing to do with sending or dispatching forces to Quds.

So, you know, we are talking to the government on the same topic. You know, the system decided to say that in order to be compatible with the international norms and follow up its objectives regarding Israel we should say that we agree with the return of all Palestinian people, and even those who have been expelled from Palestine, and then Jews, Christians, and Muslims vote in order to determine their own fate. It is compatible with international norms and law. In other places also, they had the same mechanism in the former colonial powers, and they changed their fate.

When on the basis of our extremism and our individual [inaudible], we go beyond that. You know, while this slogan has been raised for 20 years, and then we go beyond this slogan, then calamity starts, disaster starts. And then instead of isolating Israel we depict it as oppressed. In Dublin and in Switzerland, the Europeans after Gaza were against Israel and were issuing resolutions against it, and they had their own stance, but because of our mistake in those two places, besides inflicting damages on us, all of them just backed Israel.

I bet the greatest Israel institution in the United States considers this as an advantage for itself. What I say is that we should not be imaginary or imaginative in the international arena. We should be pragmatic; we should go on the basis of deliberation. The problem that I have with these issues is not on the basis of long—is not regarding the long-term issues or long-standing issues, you know. See whether the foreign ministry experts acknowledge this policy either in the foreign ministry or in the universities would not acknowledge these policies. We don’t have a few examples; we have a number of them. In my election campaign I have said, where we have extremism we go to the other side of the spectrum.

You know, when we just talk about Holocaust we don’t calculate the costs and the benefits, and we don’t know whether we are getting to our objective. And then after these issues, then the deputy says that we are friends of the Israeli people. And then saying that after those problems, we are friends of Israel in order to create a balance, and then he doesn’t [inaudible] from his stance, and after there are a lot of protests, and even then he is not removed. I say that this viewpoint is against that extremism. A similar thing happened in our economic efforts and other efforts, and there are a large number of them.

Let me give other examples, although I don’t want to talk about the Persian Gulf and going to Qatar and to United Arab Emirates because they inflict heavy damages on us. The mere speaking about—saying that they didn’t have any disadvantage it’s not okay, because the people are tasting the impact in their security, in their economy, in their [inaudible], in their interactions with the world in discrediting their passports in the international arena and in human relations of the Iranians in other parts of the world.

Whether the government is not responsible against being an Iranian and against Iran, I say that in this regard, the government has been negligent of these problems which are the problems of the people. I really pity the people with these policies and with the calamities we are imposing on them. We go to the extremes and all these stem from our foreign policy unfortunately. There was another issue. That is you talked about Mr. Hashemi. Mr. Hashemi is a great person, and Imam talked about him. You can talk about his weak points and his strong points, but I am bit old, and before revolution and after revolution I have been in the politics, and the people have thought in order to say that, for instance, I’m [inaudible], and then you join three terms and then saying that I’m against all of them. Who is going to accept it? Why are you discussing this? Mr. Khatami is not just an unknown person; he has been a president for 8 years; Mr. Hashemi too. So you can talk to them. You can just arrange a talk on the TV. And you know that the IRIB is at your disposal; you can invite them to a round table and talk to them. What are they related to me? It has nothing to do with me. I say that your foreign policy has inflicted damages on the country and on us and this [inaudible] of Iran has been caged as a result of your economic policies and also foreign policy.

Well, let me touch on another issue regarding national solidarity. What are we doing, and how are we dealing with the university students, with the people? Whenever I go there is protest, wherever I go they say we have been humiliated, we have been arrested, we have been expelled from university and so on. You know, I’m an intellectual, and I am working in the Academy of Art. You know, a person’s book has been published 15 times with the permission of the same government, and then the same government stops it, bans it.  You have your prestige, and every government should be committed to what it said, to its signature and so on. Just, you know, look at the publishers. How many of the publishers during these four years have been banned? What problems they are facing? You know, there are things done which are really agonizing and they are disturbing.

All of us have an Islamic, Iranian, human identity.  Suppose that a book shop whose back is at the wall has published 30 books. It’s enough to just ban four or five of the titles in the new editions, and they go bankrupt as they are. Then they feel that they are against the system. Why the artists are against the government? I believe that the artists are not much involved in political activities but they are really facing problem at national level due to these policies. Well, the clerics also have some.

You know, just look at the relationship between the clerics and the religious authorities with the government and the humiliation of the, sorry, an affront to Prophet Muhammad in the Education Ministry, and what reaction did we show? All this shows some sort of negative outlook against the government. Well, what I say is, has the government officials thought why the relation between the government and the clerics has deteriorated and also with the youth and with the intellectuals?

Wherever I go, there are few people who raises just slogans and disturb the meeting and then provoke others and then raise the slogans against these policies and in domestic policies I’m going to shed light on what the government does which is against the eight point declaration of Imam Khomeini, you know, because you just divide the people into insiders and outsiders.

Moderator:

Your time is over.

Mousavi:

Okay

Moderator:

Well, let me just make this announcement that Mr. Mousavi has been speaking for 21 minutes, and Mr. Ahmadinejad has been speaking for 23 minutes. It’s now your turn.           

Ahmadinejad:

Well, thank you very much. Mr. Mousavi, if you allow me, I will repeat what I said. Mr. Mousavi, I sometimes feel sorry. You raised some questions, some issues that shows that you’re misinformed. What don’t I just give you more explanations like what we call the ‘star students.’ How did that happen? Where did they come from? And they are raising all the blame on this, putting the blame on this government. I don’t know why that is. They should have—‘star students’ took place some eight years ago during Mr. Moeen’s, who is Mr. Mousavi’s friend.

In the master’s degree, they had one star in front of the names of students, means you have problem. There is something wrong with your documents and you should go and remove that shortcoming and get completer documents. If you have two stars, it means you have a problem with the disciplinary committee or you have violated a law or you done something, and you have to be careful. During Mr. Moeen, this started and during our government we abolished this— this was an insult to students. And the minister in our cabinet abolished this and Mr. Mousavi, instead of blaming his own friends, his own ministers, he’s blaming us, he’s criticizing us. I really regret this.

How can you pass such a judgment? Some people come together, get around you and support you. We do the same thing, people get around us. Yesterday I was in Mashhad, there were thousands of people. Aren’t they the people from this country? Why do you think people who support you they’re the only human beings, and they are the people of Iran? You are trying to separate people, you are dividing them.

If you look at these, I have these for you here to see. You talk about books. Well, yeah, I agree with you. I wrote a letter to the Minister of Islamic Guidance and Culture and his statistics show that compared to Mr. Hashemi and Mr. Khatami’s governments, we have the least censorship. Of course, I do not accept that. My letter to the Minister of Islamic Guidance and Culture is here. 

Mr. Mousavi, you have been Prime Minister for eight years, and there was one newspaper to criticize you, only one newspaper. And once or twice a week they criticize you economically. And the statistics that I have here affirm all of those criticisms. I will talk about them now. What atmosphere did you create at that time? You yourself, how many times did you talk against that newspaper? I have all your lectures against that newspaper. You should remember all this. This is recorded. You said that you are in the line of the enemy, you are acting against the revolution, you said that you are hurting or harming the county. Whereas the reports published in that newspaper [were] about your own budget plan, and it was in the Parliament’s Agricultural Commission. And that person, one of those people had written a critique of that. You pressure, and they stopped writing those reports and articles. If you look at all these, four years, these are the titles of the insults against me and my government, all the accusations and insults. I tolerated all of these. In your addresses you called me a dictator. Is this dictatorship? 

During Mr. Hashemi, it was the same story. When you asked me not to compare them, we have to compare these. There was only one newspaper criticizing the government policies. The president himself adopted a position himself against that newspaper and finally silenced that newspaper. During Mr. Khatami’s government, it was the same story. Nobody had the right to criticize the same scholars and clerics that you were mentioning. If one of them criticized they would draw his caricature. After nationalization of oil, nobody drew a caricature of a cleric, but you saw thirty titles and newspapers, plots against the government and talks of treason against the government, against the president, and he silenced them all. And for your information, again, in universities, this never happened, that a university lecturer or a model researcher to talk about his research. He wrote an article against research policies, and the university officials insulted him, and they provoked a group to raise slogans against him. We shouldn’t forget these.

When I mentioned the fact that Mr. Mousavi, Khatami and Mr. Hashemi, this is right, I should say that and compare them to the other. In a meeting where your wife and Mr. Khatami [were] present, he elaborates on this and he says that, the time of reform is a continuation of construction. In this government, this trend has been harmed and we want Mr. Mousavi because he wants to continue the same path. That means what Mr. Hashemi the aristocracy, Mr. Hashemi started in this country is going to be continued. The worries are not—people know all about this.

You said that you are proud of Mr. Hashemi’s support for you. What does that mean? It sure has a meaning. We believe that he’s actually the main player. We know who, who is running whose electoral campaign committee and what meetings, who’s organizing those meetings and campaign.  There is a connection; you cannot say there is no connection. We cannot close our eyes; people can’t ignore all these—what are all these chains? I’ll cite some examples for you, one of them I just mentioned: Tolerating the opposition. What’s happening in this government? Three hundred twenty thousand titles insulting my government. We never closed down any newspaper, nor threatened anybody, nor pressured anyone. They are still writing things against us, with your support and against us, they are still busy writing. You raised different issues against this government. Let’s compare, let’s try to remember what happened in the past three governments and what’s happening now.

You said that relations with the clerics, you mentioned that. How many times did you visit the clerics during your eight years as Prime Minister? Let us know, let us and the people know.  The relationship between this government and the clerics is a very good one. Why do you raise such a claim? It does not mean violation of freedom. It’s a very good—we have very good ties. And I’m surprised why people who have not talked about main issues, more important issues, why do they go to such details than try to actually get to general conclusions?

You said the government is not abiding by the law, is acting like dictators. Do you remember the time you were in charge? Against the constitutional law, the minimum powers of the president with the—you stripped the president of his ranks. You had to have your ministers confirmed, but what you did, was the late Imam had to interfere, and he appointed a group to select and to approve of the cabinet ministers. That means that the president himself had no authority to deal with that because of what you did.

Among the MPs, who dare talk against you? Do you remember what your friends did? Once a group of parliamentarians voted against you, and it was done in secret of course, the voting was done in secret, the names were extracted, they were publicized, and they called them American Islam, and some of them had to go home and retreat from politics. This atmosphere of tolerance, this is what happened in that government and the government after that.

I did not want to mention some of these issues, but I really have to because you are mentioning some points which makes me raise such issues. Why do you consider yourself to talk on behalf of the Islamic establishment? I have my own position regarding the Holocaust and the Leader approved of that, and the nation approved of that. Who in this establishment is against that and has another, a different opinion? If you are talking on behalf of the people, people of different situations have announced their positions. You accuse the government of not following the law. I don’t want to talk about the 95 million [inaudible] without parliament ratification disappeared in your government, and in the parliament there was a [inaudible] actually.

Moderator:

Well, Mr. Ahmadinejad, your time is up.

Ahmadinejad:

Ten minutes is over? One more statement I want to make. I just want to talk about the university degrees a little bit. Mr. Khatami, you called him a doctor. Do you know that based on regulations, one can be called a doctor who has a doctoral degree from university or has had a comprehensive? He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, but you call him a doctor. Regarding the file of a lady, can I talk to you about an educational record of a lady? Yes, should I say that? Are you sure?

Mousavi:

Yes.

Ahmadinejad:

Okay, when my turn comes.

Moderator:

Thank you very much. Mr. Mousavi.

Mousavi:

Well, one of the problems that I have, which is one of the problems our country is the method that we are facing in this session too, that is creating fake faces for others and adventurism. Just you know, problems like, we have some problems or some cases like the Interior Minister, if the head of the government didn’t know that the Interior Minister was—had only associated degree but introduced himself as a PhD, so if he didn’t know he has, if he is short of information, otherwise, you know, I don’t want to touch it. So on the basis of this we are pitted against the parliament and against the people and also the dissertations, and we consider the thesis and also the certificates as a piece of paper then we just have to trust in the same person and contrary to the law, we just…When he was the Interior Minister, then a contract of 10 billion dollars was discussed at the office of the same Interior Minister by the head of the state.  Then one of his deputies says, I was just passing by the gate of the ministry and then I realized that they were discussing the head of a company and then I joined them. 

All of this creates some sort of suspicion about very bad problems in the country which are really disturbing, and one of the problems the government faces is this kind of treatments of policies and when they cannot resist then they remove the minister and then another minister is appointed who has some cases regarding [inaudible] a lot of problems and then he has billions of [tomans] of riches or hundreds of billions and then he is put at a place, you know, that is contrary to the criteria that  Imam Khomeini set for us. 

These are all questions and, you know, because it is said he is involved in transit of oil and so on I am not going to touch them.  Let me touch the issue of just evading the rules and regulations of law.  I believe that the minor dictatorship just came to power because of evasion of law because it was privileged thing to the people that we can evade the law. [Inaudible] came to power when the people was used to evasion of law passed by the parliament on the basis of human rights or just to prevent [inaudible] or other standards they were evaded. 

You know, there are many cases of points here the government, not only one case but two cases, has opposed the law.  And really, I fear that, I am concerned about it, I don’t say that [inaudible] that he wants to become a dictator, but suppose that for eight years a governments rejects the law or evades the law, saying that “I don’t like it” and so on, this is selfishness and self-centeredness saying that “I don’t like this.” It is not in the interest of the government. It just reduces my power and so on and if the people get used to evasion of law, then what will happen for eight years we behave in a manner that the head of the government and the government evade the law.  Then after eight years I don’t stay in this government, if someone comes to power who just capitalizes on the same sense, then what will happen to the country?

Well, let me just make other points.  Evading or refraining from implementing the [inaudible] development plan, there are strange discussions about this. I don’t know, I wonder if the government can treat a law just like this because it’s supposed to a law, it should be replaced by another law approved by the government and then in [inaudible], saying that—I am not going into the details because I want to save my time, and if necessary I will discuss them. 

And then this dissolution of the High Councils and refraining from implementing the enactment of the Parliament and the Expediency Council, then the government insists that I am not going to implement them.  On different excuses, I don’t think that we have any higher organization or institution than the Expediency Council which is supported by the leader of the Revolution, and it is so important that on the basis of expediency it can go beyond the Shari’a. We have discussed all this over there, and then 18 councils that were dissolved by the government, by the council to be restored, but the government hasn’t restored them yet.

So one of them is the Monetary Council, and you know, the 25% inflation, is because—one of the reasons for this inflation is the dissolution of the council. Another problem is that, the government wants the control of all the banks and all the organizations so that the representatives of the judiciary and the private sector are not there, so as a result we just face this inflation and the economic situation the industry is facing problem, inflation is 25% and everybody is just crying.

These are the sort of those policies, liquidity is 2.5%, two and a half times compared to the time that you just came to power. I’m not going to refer to the procedure, to the proceedings of the parliament and regarding the public tribunal, which is one of the most important tribunals. The dissolution of the budget and planning organization is one of those problems. I’m very sensitive about this organization because when I was in power, I thought that some people may be opposed to plan because some people were opposed to plans in the early days of the revolution because they said just trust in God and we don’t need plans. They wanted to go their own way. Because of this problem in the Council of Revision of the Constitution, I was in the executive committee and then they—specifically I proposed the establishment of the plan—management and plan organization and the implement[ation] organization and they have been incorporated in the constitution, but now you have dissolved them and just reduced it to a directorate, which is not accountable.

Also the taxation. if necessary I will go into the details. Also, you have announced the banning of the value added taxes, which is not within your prerogative and also the government services. I’m just listing them, because if necessary, and then also you wanted to add the hajj organization to the [inaudible] organization and the heritage organization and then with the involve—on the hint of the leaders you just restored it, you shouldn’t do it because it is illegal.

And also lack of attention to the courts, to the law regarding the courts. In a case, the ministry, the minister of science, says that, asks the ministry tribunal not to do so, and he is very proud of that. He says, addressing the university president, who is also a war victim, says that in case the president should interpret in the case, and then many times it has been said that the university professor is so and so and he has written a letter. He might be opposed to that person and to legal procedures he can remove him.

But inattention to the accordant certificate and also violation of the law of having more than one job or designation and so on. I think that instead of just creating, of forging cases against others, it’s better to just solve the problems, to solve the difficulties of the country, to save the country from the crisis. I very honestly and without any personal, just, involvement, I entered the race because the government is evading the law. If the government, not once, not twice, not thrice, evades the law and just considers it as a method and procedure to oppose the law wherever it is against its interests while the parliament has approved those laws, which is also in line with the president, then when the people lose their sensitivities to this issue, so should we feel the danger? Shouldn’t we be concerned about these developments?

Moderator:

Your 10 minutes is over. Well, let me just inform our viewers that Mr. Mousavi has been talking for 30 minutes and 51 seconds ,and Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke for 34 minutes and 17 seconds. Mr. Ahmadinejad, please.

Ahmadinejad:

I should repeat what I said before regarding the judgments of Mr. Mousavi. This government has trampled upon law? You’re referring only to one government right now, parliament ratification and this is a law on councils, regarding councils against the constitution and the expediency council accepts that. If you want to implement the law, why don’t you write to the body in charge to complain against this? If there is anything against the law, there is a government body to refer to this.

Moderator:

Mr. Ahmadinejad, you only have 8 minutes left.

Ahmadinejad:

We have 45 minutes.

Moderator:

If we have more time we will still distribute the time.

Ahmadinejad:

We should continue this retreat for hours because for the past 3 years they have been attacking us all together and you give us 45 minutes? Three people facing one person? Okay, no problem.

Based on documents we have at hand, in the previous government, the number of the government ratifications which were annulled were 303. In our government, it was 157. The ratifications that were annulled by the administrative justice department [are] again much lower than the previous government. Who is abiding by the law? We are acting based on exacting the regulations stipulated. If you ask some lawyers, they will set you straight on that. If you think we’re acting against the law, why didn’t you pass a note to the administrative justice department and they will see to it, if you simply mentioned this, x happened there, and y happened somewhere, this is a great country, and maybe lots of things happen in different corners.

In your government, many things happened too. We are not after creating, fabricating those years and files. There’s a report on the story is this. During Mr. Hashemi’s government, who is a supporter of Mr. Mousavi, there was a wave created among managers, government workers, all of them wanted to get a doctoral degree, and Herzad University was behind this and they were issuing doctoral degrees one after another in a row, and there was a wave. Kordan was also among one those officials. I told in parliament that I do not recognize such certificates and degrees. A university lecturer, a PhD holder is somebody who should burn a lot of midnight oil and take a lot of pains. They’re lots of people in this country studying hard, I said I do not recognize any of these. Can you tell us how many people during your time, during Mr. Hashemi’s time, how many people got their PhDs, like that? Mr. Kordan was also one of them. In parliament I said the same thing: Look at his performance, forget about his degree.

Regarding somebody else who said that there are hundreds of billions, millions of dollars, I really don’t know if he was an army commander during Mr. Khatami’s time. He entered economic activity and he created some wealth. And I told him to put that job aside and join the government and he did so. But many of your cabinet ministers, did they join you empty handed? They got lots of concessions benefitting from the dollar-real parity rate and they created great wealth.

There is a long list; I didn’t want to give names here. You said that they created great wealth. What are Mr. Hashemi’s sons doing in the country? Which one of my ministers, during their time in office, possessed any mansions and created wealth, generated wealth for themselves? I have a list of the land that officials got: 40 hectares, 50, 80 hectares, 400 hectares plots of land. This happened during the transfer of ownership that started before this government. Who possessed all of these? Those who are supporting you now. The great cost of your propagan—your campaign, where does it come from? I respect you, Mr. Mousavi, but where does all that money come from? One from Branch Electric Industries, without any bidding, they gave it to Mr. Kabasri’s wife’s relatives. Everything went to them in tens of such cases. 400 hectares in Hormozgan province and people have problems on 2 hectares to create employment for their youths. And this is called lawlessness, Mr. Mousavi. Stud oil [sic]is called lawlessness.

The person comes here, he’s accused, convicted, and then he flees prison and is outside of everyone. Mr. Hashemi’s sons has been after this. Lawlessness is seen in the sons of some of the people supporting you today. What about Mr. [inaudible]’s son? How did he come to millions of dollars? How did they become rich? That is called evading the law and not abiding by the law. And we discover, we never accepted, we never said we don’t accept the law.

Moderator:

Mr. Ahmadinejad your time is up.

Ahmadinejad:

I have only one more statement to make. I have a dossier from a lady, you know the lady. Your campaign she sits next to you which is against all the regulations. She studied 2 masters degree, one in Azad university, she got PhD without attending the university entrance exam and now she is an assistant professor without having qualifications, she is now heading a faculty, this is lawlessness, this is what I am opposed to, grants and concessions going to some people and depriving others of all this, I am law abiding, my government abides by the law more than anyone else.

And the last point you make is [that] I did not mention a statistical figures when the economy is hurt [but] best economic situation belongs to this time; compared to your time its excellent and we have detailed reports and we have statistical figures all here, but my question for you is the late imam annulled and cancelled the admission committees, he annulled them all in your government, not ours. One of your relatives I was working with, the university admission committee, there was a file from a lady, they asked her a certain question if she answered that question they said well, she has been very good so she is gone. I have seen all this, the rights of people being trampled upon, the 8 point directive was issued for your government not for my government.

Moderator:

Well, Thank you Mr. Ahmadinejad, your time is up, Mr. Mousavi, please…you have approximately 12 minutes; please tell me the accurate precise time, this is your conclusion…

Mousavi:

Well, he speaks about different matters, he speaks about specific issues and I don’t know how we can really give answers to his remarks, some of the problems in discussing with him is that these talks are [abnormal]. [You know he says write a letter to] tribunal administrative—do not take my time please—you know how they behave, and this is my time—you say write something to the administrative tribunal, is it a way to face the parliament? Or to treat the expediency council where the elders are sitting and the senior politicians are there and the legitimacy comes from the leader, can we really rule the country in this way?

This is the mere problem I have with you, you know in evident issues we behave in a manner and we speak in a manner that instead of just accepting the mistakes and saying that ok we want to correct something [but] instead of that you [don’t] do this. I didn’t say you are a dictator but this leads to dictatorship, definitely it leads to dictatorship. Because you just give priority to your own vote compared to the parliament and to the expediency council. And you are [mentioning names] and I think it is below the dignity of the head of the government to mention the names of those who have not been condemned in the judiciary it is a crime to mention them without giving them just time to defend themselves; you attack some people here who are not present here and then you just intermingle them with my fate and you didn’t have anything on me and you connect me to the previous two terms/governments.

So without defending them, they are right to be angry against you and the people will not accept this from you; don’t you know what Mr. Hashemi or Mr. Khatami have done in this country, they have been president but you as a citizen at least should give right to them when they cannot defend themselves; [in view of 15 million] when people are watching you are mentioning the names of his family members, his sons and so on; this is the reason of the [judiciary and the judiciary] means someone is condemned that is the other are just [accreted?],this isan Islamic principle. From the beginning of your term you said that there are thousands of corrupt people and I am going to mention their name and you removed the head of the party and appointed him as your advisor; these are sins, we are Muslims we are faithful, we believe in God so we cannot just out of the blue mention the names of people and accuse them. Regarding the delegation of transferring of the hectors of land to others , if they have done so it is wrong and it has got nothing to do with me, why [do you] say those people support me?

I say every citizen is a headquarters, you know, contrary to those who are using the government offices, the government facilities, the interior ministry, television, they are using it for themselves. You know we have a very clean headquarters and there is not even a single word against it. We have very clean people and very faithful people [and] if they were there I know that you would name them but they are not there, they are clean people.

And it is open, anybody who wants to support me let them support me there is no problem to oppose them, I welcome the entire nation to support me so that I get the vote, so that I bring about the change and this is my intention and I announce it right now, if I am addressing the people, if you want to see change in this situation so that others do not accuse others; you know in front of me he is just showing the photo of my wife saying that she has done [such and such].

She is one of the intellectuals of the country, she has worked for 10 years for PhD in political science and we have all the documents and the sides related to you have created some wrong atmosphere against her. She is one of the researchers of Qur’anic studies, one of her honors is that she has MA or MS in art and also she is MA and PhD in political science.

When there [were] entrance terms for Azad University, you just studied those days. One of the problems of the government is that the deputy president for executive affairs instead of solve the problems of the people is trying to find cases in order to just fabricate something for others so that they use it tonight so I am coming in order to change this morale [moral?], this streak. What is in the 8th point announcement of Imam Khomeini  is against this, [it is against] tarnishing the students he says that starting this during the time of Mr. Moeen it was bad [but not as bad as it is right now]—please don’t take my time—see we want to behave in a just manner, see I didn’t speak about you for 4 years, [then when] it came to the extreme I thought it is my duty I didn’t have any other incentive, I realized that you are endangering the country and other problems.

I will just discuss about the economic issues, how you are just managing the country. The money council has just turned the country into your backyard, it is just like the Qajarera, what did [inaudible] do? He used to have a treasury and he used to allocate money to so and so and the council of money is there to limit your power and my power and the management and planning organization is in order to prevent you from just [spending] as you like, then they take you [to] task. According to some organizations there is some money lost and there are many cases and it is in your interest, and it is in my interest and it is in the interest of the entire nation that you didn’t do. I am talking on the basis of my sympathy, see I am putting forth the problem and if it continues and if I go into the details of the other aspects we realized that the [unemployment, inflation addiction, also these wrong culture, our defeat in foreign policy], all [these are stemming] from that problem and we don’t have close reign in the region that don’t stem from the same problem. All these stem from the framework that I mention and I am going to read for you again. See whether these problems are influential or not, effective or not, I’m just going to enumerate some of the features of this kind of management which is leading us towards a deadlock. How much time do I have?

Moderator:

You have approximately, close to 4 minutes.

 

Mousavi:

Okay, I think it’s worth mentioning the policies and the framework once again although unfortunately we are running out of time but Mr. Ahmadinejad forces me to say something that I didn’t like to say. So it is an excitation management that says a slogan, imagination, and superstition. You are saying that the US is collapsing, Israel is collapsing, France is collapsing, and so on.

On the basis of this slogan, we formulate our foreign policy which leads us to nowhere and then selfishness and evasion of the law. If a person is not self-centered, then he would welcome law and through law and legal measures solves the problems. Even if he doesn’t like the law, then we would have some problems regarding just day to day affairs and so on. These have created problems for our country and I believe that the damages inflicted on us during these 4 years [have been] very heavy and all these justify my presence in the elections. In fact, my message to the people is I just belong to the people, I go to the people, they will judge and they can judge about this period and this term and they realize whether the procedures and policies are okay or not and they can make [a] decision. It is dangerous for our country, this is why I am entering into the race and then destiny will be decided by God and the decision of the people.

Moderator:

You have one minute.

Mousavi:

I have one minute? Okay. I would like to thank my nation, the nation. I know that they really, I just invite them to just analyze the issues very deeply in relation of the people and then ask them to follow the [inaudible] through one letter it is not okay, we have to create employment, to consolidate our production, we have to strengthen our industry instead of just importing Basmati rice. I went to [inaudible], it’s really funny, their main product is garlic. They said that they had imported garlic from China we cannot really cultivate it, we have to remove these problems, to solve these problems, we have to have some sort of enchantment to our nationality, Iranian, being Iranian. You know our industry and our agriculture is not too weak and our culture is not weak to be exposed to these problems. I wish that the outcome of these talks and debates will be in the interest of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, God willing.

Moderator:

Thank you very much. I wish to thank you both, I appreciate you both. You had equal time for delivering your speeches of course. The national media is willing to continue the debate but based on the views of the commissions for publicity works this is all that was delegated.

Ahmadinejad:

He raised the allegations and then he says “I didn’t want to mention these.” It’s so interesting.