The eight candidates who have been officially approved to run in Iran’s presidential elections will engage in the first live televised debate today at 4:00pm Tehran time, or 7:30am EST. You can watch the debate live on Iranian state television here. If your Persian is a little rusty, check out the live updates in English on Twitter via @IranElections13 as well as by the campaign of former nuclear Hassan Rouhani via @HassanRouhani.
The debate should prove an interesting opportunity to see the array of contenders face off against one another directly. Live coverage of the presidential debates has proven both controversial and compelling in the past. In 2009, Ahmadinejad confronted each of his rivals in live debates that drew intense attention thanks to the president’s stunning allegations of nepotism and corruption levied against his adversaries, and the sharp critiques to the Ahmadinejad record from each of the three challengers. Check out those debates (with English subtitles) here, here and here. In the current campaign, coverage by state TV has already sparked backlash from several candidates over apparent censorship of commentary about the country’s disastrous economic conditions.
Iran @ Saban will be back with analysis on the debate and other news of the week later today.
Among those in the current US administration, President Macron is perceived to be a solid partner. Not only do Macron and President Trump have personal chemistry, which was seen by all during Trump’s trip to France last summer, but Macron’s decision to team with the US and UK in striking Syrian chemical weapons facilities recently demonstrated solidarity on a key security priority… Getting the United States to stick with the Iran nuclear accord will be Macron’s top priority during his visit to Washington but the prospects for a major breakthrough are unclear… It’s helpful that Macron and President Trump have personal rapport. It’s uncertain, however, if this will be enough to overcome the hardline posture Trump has taken towards Iran.