EghtesadOnline: Iran’s state broadcaster removed audio from President Hassan Rouhani’s first election campaign film, apparently to prevent viewers from hearing references to a former prime minister currently under house arrest, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported.
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) showed the 24-minute video at 6:30 p.m., local time, as scheduled. However, editing was evident in the audio and video of the film’s opening sequence, in which Rouhani’s supporters are shown cheering for him at a conference, Bloomberg reported.
According to ILNA, references to former reformist President Mohammad Khatami and two politicians currently under house arrest -- ex-Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, and former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi -- were removed by the state broadcaster.
Rouhani’s official election campaign channel on the widely used mobile messaging application Telegram said two clips were removed by IRIB before it broadcast the video on its Channel One station.
In the first clip, a crowd of supporters can be heard chanting “Long live Rouhani! Eternally Mousavi!” The latter has been under house arrest since 2011 following widespread protests in response to the 2009 presidential election, in which the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad secured a second term.
A second clip published by both ILNA and the Telegram channel show footage of Rouhani speaking at a past event, saying “we filed a complaint with the judiciary, and we hope they see to it. We can at least hope.” The statement is widely seen as Rouhani suggesting that Iran’s judiciary, which is separate from the government, isn’t fulfilling its responsibilities.
Iranians head to ballot boxes on May 19 to deliver their verdict on Rouhani’s first term. He faces five challengers, including hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi and the mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf. Each candidate will have the chance to broadcast two half-hour documentary-style videos before polling day.
Rouhani’s opponents have attempted to attract working-class and rural-poor voters, attacking the incumbent for failing to convert the end of Iran’s economic isolation as a result of the 2015 nuclear deal with the West into tangible benefits for ordinary people.
In the campaign video, Rouhani focuses on the achievements of the nuclear agreement, Iran’s re-emergence on the international stage, environmental improvements in its drought-ridden wetlands and lakes, and the importance of women in society. It ends by urging Iranians to “continue the journey” with him.