Comments from Iranian presidential candidates

Associated Press
In this Thursday, May 23, 2013 photo, an Iranian woman, makes her way, at the Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) street, in front of a mural of the Iranian late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, right, a member of Basij paramilitary force, center, and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran.  On the roughneck streets in south Tehran, paramilitary volunteers look to the most hard-line presidential candidate as the best defender of the Islamic system. On the other end of Tehran's social ladder, a university professor plans to snub next week's election. In between is a mix of splintered views, apathy and indecision based on dozens of AP interviews suggesting a still wide open race. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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In this Thursday, May 23, 2013 photo, an Iranian woman, makes her way, at the Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) street, in front of a mural of the Iranian late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, right, a member of Basij paramilitary force, center, and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran. On the roughneck streets in south Tehran, paramilitary volunteers look to the most hard-line presidential candidate as the best defender of the Islamic system. On the other end of Tehran's social ladder, a university professor plans to snub next week's election. In between is a mix of splintered views, apathy and indecision based on dozens of AP interviews suggesting a still wide open race. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Comments on the economy, sanctions and international relations by the eight candidates in Iran's June 14 presidential race.

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Parliament member Gholam Ali Haddad Adel:

"In fact, the U.S. president is the problem, not Iran's president." — In response to a question about the nuclear standoff.

"Iran's Islamic Revolution inspired the Islamic Awakening in the Islamic world and we have had some challenges along with opportunities on the way. The biggest challenge facing the country today is the economic issue." — Using the Iran's phrase Islamic Awakening in reference to the Arab Spring.

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Former Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref:

"We have 4 million Iranian envoys in foreign countries and the future government should use this potential to strengthen relations with different states." — Speaking about Iran's diaspora.

"The problem of the economy is the conservatives' domination over it. Interference of some military people and military-affiliated companies in the economy has limited space for participation" — In apparent reference to Revolutionary Guard's extensive business interests.

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Former Oil Minister Mohammad Gharazi:

"A global definition says that low inflation and high employment figures are what make an administration popular. Balanced inflation and employment rates are also acceptable. But a high inflation and a low employment rate are the features of an inefficient administration."

"We are not allowed to build a nuclear bomb, both in religious terms and according our views. We can achieve that capability, but we do not consider it beneficial and we will never go after it." — In reference to religious edict, or fatwa, by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei against nuclear weapons.

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Nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili:

"We are seeking to dry up the roots of the Zionist regime, and the capitalist and communist systems. Instead, we promote the Islamic system. This is the discourse of the Islamic revolution" — in reference to Israel, the West and other nations.

"Regardless of who is elected president in June, uranium enrichment activities will be pursued without fear."

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Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf:

"The country is not run by talk. It needs wisdom ... We had been grappling with mismanagement before we faced sanctions."

"Part of the financial and administrative corruption is blamed on this outmoded and dilapidated administrative system. We inherited this system several decades ago, before the revolution, and we have never overhauled it."

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Former Revolutionary Guard chief Mohsen Rezaei:

"The next government should work hard to settle the people's economic hardships."

"We will take away the economy from the government institutions. We will take it away from any government institution that is involved in the economy, whether it is the armed forces or ministries. The government, ministries and its related institutions are tasked with monitoring, guiding, and supporting. The government is not supposed to interfere in the affairs that people can handle." — A reference to the vast state controls on Iran's economy.

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Former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani:

"Which family today doesn't have someone who is unemployed? If the administration had a plan, this couldn't be solved."

"Which country in our region has a 30 percent inflation rate? Saudi Arabia has an inflation of 2.9 percent, and our inflation is above 30 percent and in certain areas above 40 percent. Food products in the last 12 months saw an inflation rate of 58 percent. Why? Because there is no growth in production."

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Senior international affairs adviser Ali Akbar Velayati:

"We can have successful foreign relations and policies and, in that case, we would be able to reduce the sanctions. This is practicable and we will do this." — In reference to possible greater diplomatic outreach to the U.S. and West.

"We do have a legitimate right to a peaceful nuclear program, but at the same time could also avoid tensions with the West."

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