Iran TV censors Rouhani campaign documentary ahead of elections

Move seen as step by conservatives to hamper incumbent’s May 19 reelection bid

Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani hold his portrait during a campaign rally in the capital Tehran on May 4, 2017. (AFP/Atta Kenare)
Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani hold his portrait during a campaign rally in the capital Tehran on May 4, 2017. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state TV Saturday censored a documentary released by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s campaign, ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

A report by the semi-official ILNA did not elaborate but a Rouhani campaign official confirmed to AP that state TV had cut parts of “President Rouhani.”

He said one censored segment showed supporters chanting for opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has been under house-arrest since 2011 and whose Green Movement is opposed by conservatives. Also omitted was a picture of former president Mohammad Khatami, whose name and image have been banned in Iranian media since 2015.

He said state TV also cut out a remark by a student in which he said the country’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei supported the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

The documentary was a collection of Rouhani’s past speeches on various issues during his visits to provinces across the country.

State TV did not immediately provide any comment.

Earlier this week Khatami announced his support for Rouhani, and Mousavi is also considered a Rouhani supporter.

Rouhani, considered a moderate among the candidates allowed to run, vowed in his 2013 campaign to lift Mousavi’s house arrest. He is now running in the May 19 election against five other candidates. That promise remains unfulfilled.

In a separate report, the official IRNA news agency published the results of a Monday survey in which nearly 64 percent of a 6,047 person sample group said they will be voting, while 20% said they were undecided.

It added that some 55% had already decided on their candidates; 45% said they support the moderate-reformist camp, while more than 23% supported conservative groups.

The survey also asked where voters would seek guidance for their vote; some 50% said they would decide for themselves, 16% said they would follow the lead of friends and relatives in making their decision, 14% said they would refer to clerics, 13% to political groups, 6% to university students and academics, and 1.3% said they would emulate artists and athletes.

Rouhani won the 2013 presidential election with nearly 51% of 37 million votes in a 73% turnout. There are some 55 million eligible voters in the upcoming election.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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