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Ahmadinejad Demands Airtime in Presidential Debates

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a press conference in the capital Tehran on April 5, 2017.

“There’s nowhere to go to and raise complaints against Seda va Sima”, the only Radio and TV network allowed to run inside Iran, says former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The national network operates strictly under the Supreme Leader, ayatollah Khamenei’s supervision.

“If the presidential candidates unfairly target my government report card and attack it with fabricated info and libelous claims, an equal airtime should be allocated to me to respond and defend my government achievements”, adds Mr. Ahmadinejad, in a statement published by his office.

Mr. Ahmadinejad who was disqualified to run as candidate in May 19 presidential elections, insists that he is not ‘begging or requesting’ for an airtime since it is his inalienable right to demand a slot to defend himself against any “false accusation.”

The schedule for the debates has not been specified, yet.

However, on Iranian social media sites, critics ask why Mr. Ahmadinejad did not raise an issue about the unfairness of the state broadcaster during his presidency, when he was the beneficiary of one-sided reporting and preferential treatment.

In his statement, the former president has also emphasized his frustration for not being able to find “a point of reference” to raise complaints against the judiciary. He has accused the judiciary of legal violation, as well as circulating false news against him and his government.

“There is a legal case against Mr. Ahmadinejad which is under official review and in its preliminary stages”, the judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossain Ejei, recently disclosed.

Mr. Ahmadinejad led the government from 2005 to 2013. His controversial re-election in 2009 sparked the ‘Green Movement’, which brought tens of thousands into the streets of Tehran and led to a crackdown hundreds of people arrested. The government officially declared 27 were killed during the unrest. However, independent HR groups put the death toll much higher.

In the May 19 elections six qualified candidates are expected to compete. Three candidates belong to the Conservative faction and the other three are affiliated with the so-called moderate/reformist circles.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has vowed not to support any of the candidates.