Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Iranian presidential candidates slam Ahmadinejad

Iran election: Rival candidates rip President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on foreign policy
Hopefuls bring up topics once considered off-limits, such as nuclear program, stance on Israel

By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim |
Tribune Newspapers
June 1, 2009

TEHRAN -- In a presidential campaign most analysts predicted would hinge on domestic bread-and-butter issues, foreign policy has emerged as a major battleground -- and a potential Achilles' heel -- for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

With campaigns in full swing ahead of the June 12 vote, challengers have publicly criticized Ahmadinejad on topics long considered off-limits for debate in Iran, such as his stance on the country's nuclear program and his vitriol about Israel.

Reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi accused the president of so sullying the nation that Iranian passports are now on par with those of Somalia, a hub of poverty, piracy and terrorism.

"Our people have not given you the right to disgrace them," he told supporters during a campaign stop in the city of Isfahan.