WANA (July 03) — The two candidates vying for the Iranian presidency, Masoud Pezeshkian and Saeed Jalili, square off in the second televised debate in the 2024 Iranian presidential runoff election.


This is the second of two debates before the July 5 presidential runoff vote, centred on economic issues. The first debate on political and cultural issues was held on Monday evening.


Candidates in most parts of the debate personally attacked one another.


Jalili focused on people in Pezeshkian’s election team who had roles in previous Reformist governments and accused them of “32 years of mismanagement”. Jalili also named several former ministers who, in his idea, had “ineffective performance” that led to the current economic situation.


For his part Pezeshkian accused current government of helping Jalili in provinces by campaigning for him (involvement of current government officials in campaigning for any candidate and using government resources is against the law). Pezeshkian also displayed economic data and blamed late Iran president Ebrahim Raisi for current “poor economic situation”.

Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili ​attends an election debate at a television studio in Tehran, Iran, July 1, 2024. Morteza Fakhri Nezhad/IRIB/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

Here are highlights of the debate aired on National TV:


  • Now is not the time to make excuses. We cannot solve problems with trial-and-error plans.


  • They know I will hold them accountable, the state-owned companies and the cronies.


  • I’m not someone who makes excuses at the first sign of a problem. (reference to Reformists and their previous governments)


  • Production volume is one of the most important issues related to cars. It must increase enough so that this problem does not arise in the market.


  • The best plan is to involve people themselves in this grand national plan (Jalili has a plan in which people themselves can manage energy subsidies by allocation of energy to every household). If you involve people in managing energy consumption, then they will participate because they will feel its benefit. We must trust people. It is the government’s role to provide the framework and allow the people to manage their own consumption.


  • Our plan does not imply increasing prices at all. It’s about the current prices that exist.


  • On issues such as JCPOA and FATF, we are in a position to demand and must pursue the matter through dialogue. We must make the other party regret imposing economic sanctions and make it costly for them to continue. This requires planning and effort.

Iranian presidential candidate Masoud Pezeshkian attends an election debate at a television studio in Tehran, Iran, July 1, 2024. Morteza Fakhri Nezhad/IRIB/WANA (West Asia News Agency)


  • It’s natural not to give subsidies to me and people who ride luxurious cars. They should take from the wealthy and give to the deprived. We need to determine who should receive subsidies and who shouldn’t. We need to assess the situation we are facing. Currently, there’s no plan; everyone is receiving subsidies.


  • I have repeatedly said that the cause of inflation is the government that takes money out of people’s pockets. Amid sanctions, prices inevitably rise, and we cannot make purchases, leaving the government to dip into people’s pockets.


  • If we do not pursue land reforms, the future of Tehran will be a disaster.


  • I will liberalize car imports with the currencies they have. If you open up competition and allow cars to be imported, the market will regulate itself. I don’t need to intervene (as president). No government in history has been able to achieve growth and prosperity within a cage.


  • Retirees should have access to healthcare services without cost. We should increase retirees’ salaries based on the (existing) inflation rate.


  • I am neither illiterate nor affiliated with any party, nor did I separate myself from the people. I was from within the people and for the people.


election debate