Rouhani Asked to Debate Iranian Economy by AhmadinejadKambiz Foroohar
Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants a debate with his successor to justify his record after being blamed for the country’s economic ills.
Ahmadinejad has challenged Hassan Rouhani to debate his record. During a televised speech to mark his 100 days in office, Rouhani said on Nov. 26 that Ahmadinejad’s mismanagement was as much to blame as international sanctions for the country’s soaring inflation and currency devaluation.
In his first direct intervention since leaving office in August, Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Rouhani complaining of unfair criticism. The letter was published by Mehr news agency.
“I intended, and still intend, to keep quiet for the sake of the country,” Ahmadinejad wrote. “But out of respect for the numerous requests of different groups of people, including economic and political experts, I consider it necessary to invite you for a direct, fundamental and clarifying debate in a completely neutral environment.”
In his televised speech, Rouhani said his government had inherited some $67 billion in debt from Ahmadinejad’s period in office even though the country had earned $600 billion in oil revenue during his eight-year presidency.
“We welcome a debate,” Rouhani adviser Akbar Torkan told Mehr. As long as Ahmadinejad “sticks to telling the truth.”