Rouhani: Trump-Clinton is choice between bad, worse
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Rouhani: Trump-Clinton is choice between bad, worse

‘Do we want such a democracy and election in our country?’ Iran’s president asks of US presidential debates

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves to the crowd during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11, 2016. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves to the crowd during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11, 2016. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

TEHRAN — Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has criticized the US presidential candidates’ behavior during their debates.

Speaking to a crowd during a visit to the central Iranian city of Arak, Rouhani said on Sunday: “Did you see the debate and the way of their speaking, accusing and mocking each other? Do we want such a democracy and election in our country?”

He said “morality does not exist” in the United States “which pretends to have had democracy for 200 years”.

Iran holds presidential elections in May 2017.

Rouhani said that during his September visit to the UN General Assembly, he was asked which of the candidates he preferred. “I said, what? Should I prefer bad to worse or worse to bad?” he said in comments broadcast live by state television.

It was Rouhani’s first public comment on the US election.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016 (AFP/ Paul J. Richards)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016 (AFP/ Paul J. Richards)

Rouhani has sought to improve relations with the West, signing a nuclear accord last year with world powers that led to the lifting of sanctions and raised hopes that Iran would return to the international fold.

Trump has vowed to “tear up” the nuclear agreement and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded that he would happily “burn” the agreement if that was the case.

Rouhani faces a tough re-election battle against conservatives who dislike his overtures to the West and say the nuclear deal has failed to bring significant economic benefits to Iran.

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