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Iran's presidential race most tense ever

Since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, the upcoming presidential campaigning this year is the most tense political event that the country has ever experienced.

The conservative and the reformist camps confronted one another, gearing up rhetorics of accusing each other and making the atmosphere increasingly tense in the run-up to the voting today.

As a sign of open and competitive condition, Iran's state television, for the first time, managed a series of debates between the four candidates: incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, former Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi and former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezaei.

The debates, not just aiming at clarifying the positions and programs of the candidates, were also used by the candidates to publicize the political, social, economic and even personal downsides of each other for the sake of gaining points.

The incumbent president was almost the target of all the attacks by the three other rivals.

Mousavi, the major challenger to Ahmadinejad, lashed out at the government's tough foreign polices, especially concerning Israel, that he said had caused "global consensus against Iran."

He also accused Ahmadinejad of "twisting the truth" on the economic and social growth figures and achievement statistics represented to the public.

Karroubi, another reformist rival, highlighted Ahmadinejad's failure on providing the social freedom, "falsifying the economic figures and developing superstitions."

The conservative hopeful, Rezaei, was even more critical on the administration's economic policies by reasoning on the high inflation and the high unemployment in the country.

The former Revolutionary Guards chief further accused the president of not using gifted experts as the consultant.

The besieged president dismissed all these accusations as propaganda and ignorance of his achievements, especially in the areas of the country's nuclear program and missile advancements.

For his part, Ahmadinejad targeted the rivals by drawing upon their "economically corrupted supporters," their suspicious economic gains, their lack of expertise on the special jargons and their false predictions on the sensitive issues related to the country.

One of Ahmadinejad's fiercest attack on some rivals came on Wednesday when he was addressing thousands of his supporters in Tehran's Azadi Street where he referred to campaign strategies adopted by his rivals as the "methods utilized by Hitler."

He said, "the nation will say a bigger 'No' to the enemies, thus throwing them to the abyss of history" in the upcoming elections slated for June 12.

The recent overtures offered by the new US President Barack Obama were also used by Ahmadinejad to prove the success of his tough policies.

With divergent opinions on who would finally win the tense competition, local analysts have been cautious about the aftermath of such a rarity in the country's political scene.


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