Middle East

Iran: Tehran's mayor attacks Rouhani in pre-election debate

Tehran's mayor and presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf has accused President Hassan Rouhani's administration of dishonesty, mismanagement and supporting the rich at the expense of the poor in the first debate between the six presidential candidates.

During the first of three planned debates ahead of the May 19 elections, Qalibaf criticized the Rouhani administration, saying social and environmental problems remained unsolved because of "Your weak management. Your old and traditional management."

Qalibaf added that Rouhani's administration does not believe in privatization.

Rouhani and another candidate, Eshaq Jahangiri, in turn accused Qalibaf of false statements and spreading lies against the president's administration.

Qalibaf, 55, a conservative veteran member of the elite Revolutionary Guard, is running for president for the third time after unsuccessful bids in 2005 and 2013.