Sunday, June 07, 2009
The debate is just starting now and you can see or hear it live here in English (buttons on the top right). Karroubi says he won't go easy on Ahmadinejad and that'll probably be the case. It'll be interesting to see what strategy Ahmadinejad adopts here since he's facing an opponent that probably won't win and thus doesn't have all that much pressure, whereas Ahmadinejad is floundering at the moment. And at the same time Karroubi isn't his main opponent either.
More on the debate tomorrow in the election roundup for the day. I changed my mind, this is too interesting so I'll just stay up an extra hour to liveblog this.
Edit: I have a few minutes before bed to write on the debate so far. Karroubi started out with some criticism on Ahmadinejad's claim that the US wanted to abduct him while citing the amount of security he was given when he once visited the US, and that the US isn't interested in the kerfuffle that would happen with the abduction of an Iranian president. Ahmadinejad's response has been to pull out a pile of statistics to defend the government's economic record and then accuse Karroubi of taking the side of the US. Karroubi's responding to that now.
Edit 2: Okay, Karroubi is suddenly on steroids now. On Twitter people were despairing his first 10 minutes right at the beginning; now they're impressed. Even the interpreter seems to be getting into it. He's going after Ahmadinejad on inflation and high prices for regular people, and pretending that everything is okay. Now he's going at him for not defending others that wanted to run for the presidency but were disqualified by the Guardian Council...and also for bringing up the names of people he accused of financial corruption in the recent debate instead of giving their names to the speaker like he should have.
Edit 3: Ahmadinejad is responding now and is going over what Karroubi said this time instead of trying to change the subject. He's saying that if there was money lost in the past that it would be Karroubi's fault too if he didn't notice it...now he's playing it smooth and saying that if any money had really been lost then pro-Karroubi newspapers would have announced it already...continues this for a while and now he's taking out the charts again and talking about government consumption. Now he's calling himself an "academic" and how he "talks scientifically". He's definitely trying to come across as cool and educated in this debate. Ahmadinejad's even mentioning cement (coincidentally I have a post on Iran and cement; yes, I write about pretty much anything sometimes).
Edit 4: BOOYAH! Karroubi's going after Ahmadinejad for his claims in the last debate that Mousavi's wife didn't legitimately get her Ph.D. She's going to pursue legal action against him for that BTW. He's also saying re: Ahmadinejad's accusations that he wasn't informed about what was going on before and couldn't just take on the issue of lost money on a feeling alone. Now he's going after Ahmadinejad on foreign policy and the importance of getting rid of sanctions (Ahmadinejad said a bit before that Iran was doing well in spite of the sanctions).
Damn! He just called Ahmadinejad a "divine gift" for Israel (because he's such an obvious strawman with the Holocaust denial and so on) and is mocking him as a "global champion". Now he's going after some "management model" that Ahmadinejad has been touting before; it seems that Ahmadinejad has made the claim that other countries have asked him about his great management model in order to emulate it. He then ends with a bit on the Persian Gulf and concessions Ahmadinejad has been making to Arab states on the name.
Then a bit of talking over each other, now Ahmadinejad's turn...
Edit 5: Ahmadinejad's on the "if you knew something why didn't you publish the info" schtick again.
Oh that's nice, Ahmadinejad "even hates to mention the name Israel". He's talking about the Holocaust now. "Where did it happen?" Now he's saying that Karroubi's mentioning of a few European countries doesn't mean much because the world is bigger than just Europe. Ahmadinejad says he'll never follow the foreign policy of Khatami and Karroubi. Now talking about how Bush used to want the collapse of Iran but now Bush is gone, who cares that Italy is upset...now on to the Persian Gulf issue - he says that the Arabic word for the gulf doesn't necessarily imply "Arabian" and that it's a mistranslation from Arabic. Next he's talking about Karroubi saying in 1976 (or was it 1986?) that Iran should go on an armed struggle against Israel and asks about his changing position. Oh, he said "I like you" (دوست دارم) again - just as he did in the Mousavi debate. "I like you, but..." always followed up by more criticism. And now he's back to the economic figures again. You can tell this is the way he wants to appear in this debate because he keeps on going back to the figures and charts. He finishes up his time by saying that presidents can't wait for the opinions of experts but must be an expert himself.
Edit 6: Karroubi starts out with his previous comments that Ahmadinejad brought up. He says there isn't enough time for complete context and explains them a bit but the translation isn't that clear. Something about a plane and ammunition. Anyway...now he's iterating his continued support for nuclear energy development, that he thinks the Supreme Leader should continue to be the one to decide that. Now on the Holocaust again - says that the Palestinians should return to their homeland but that others shouldn't magnify the issue by bringing up the Holocaust. Now he's talking about being in charge of a relief committee before and that the accounts were separate from his activity...the details are going over my head but he's basically saying that he hasn't personally received money from anywhere due to his position.
Okay, Karroubi has two minutes left so he's going to save that for the conclusion. Now Ahmadinejad is talking again.
Edit 7: Ahmadinejad's continuing on Karroubi's last bit on money and is using that to talk about corruption in Iran. Hm? He's now saying that Karroubi used monies to establish a prison where people were beaten. He's also touting his lack of money - his house, bank account, etc. Now he's asking Karroubi how he got his house.
Edit 8: Karroubi is responding. Says that he never gave favours for money, explains a bit more...now he's out of time. In the conclusion he goes after Ahmanidejad on oil revenue...but not enough time and now it's Ahmadinejad's turn again.
Edit 9: Ahmadinejad's going after Karroubi on his house again. Karroubi's not happy with having run out of time at this point and there's a bit of back and forth between them. Ahmadinejad then says that Karroubi inulted his wife. Mocking tone now: "You didn't know my wife was insulted in your paper and you weren't informed? I apologize!"
Ahmadinejad says something about $20 billion to a telecommunications company for propaganda...?
Okay, Ahmadinejad has 7 or 8 minutes left (he gets the last word in this debate) and things have calmed down a tad. He's now back on the "the president needs to be an expert too" theme again - "if a president needs to rely on experts so much then the experts should be president". Now he's summing up his future plans, and he's now putting all his attention towards the viewers at home...oh no wait, he's talking about Karroubi a bit again - the "if they have so many accusations then why didn't they publish them before?" line again. "Without doing what we did we never would have become nuclear" is next. "Iran can be the most advanced country in the world, we can be awesome"...etc. etc. One minute left. Finishes up by saying that he's not part of a political party and doesn't spend money on politics, and please give me another four years. The end.