State-run Channel One aired the second of the three debates ahead of the June 14 presidential election live. The debate focused on “social and cultural” issues. All eight presidential candidates were sitting in the studio and spoke in the following order: Mohsen Rezaee, Hassan Rouhani, Mohammad Reza Aref, Ali Akbar Velayati, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Mohammad Gharazi, Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel and Saeed Jalili:
- Hassan Rouhani - Violating laws and moral principles by high-ranking officials; censorship kills creativity (also tweeted his punch lines). He criticized the media for their “biased” approach, saying that statements made in the public media are exaggerations and overstatements, and the Iranian people are aware of it. The statistics provided are at times inaccurate or even incorrect. He added that violating laws and moral principles by high-ranking officials had led to “public distrust.” Rouhani warned that social anguish such as addiction, divorce and poverty rates have increased dramatically over the past years.” He urged decentralization and removing government involvement in cultural affairs. Rouhani added, “People engaged in cultural affairs are afraid of censorship… When the atmosphere in unsafe, creativity is killed… Our cultural atmosphere should be secure for cultural activities.” Rouhani added, “Religious beliefs are being harshly attacked… Regrettably, over the past few years, some officials diluted people’s faith instead of strengthening it.”
- Mohsen Rezaee - Economic problems hampered cultural development. He focused on poverty, unemployment and inflation, maintaining that economic problems hampered cultural development. He added that culture, arts and sports should be left to people of these trades and criticized the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council for incompetence. (Haddad-Adel was surprised that Rezaee spoke more of economy than culture.)
- Saeed Jalili - Culture had to be used to resolve economic and other issues. He said that culture had to be used to resolve economic and other issues.
- Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf – The role of culture in political and economic affairs is to educate people. He said that the economy and politics should be under the influence of culture. Otherwise, the philosophy of the Islamic Republic and the Revolution, aiming to form and educate human beings, could be questioned. “Our economy is not based on capitalism… so culture becomes our true basis, and it becomes the basis for (all) government work.”