Nuclear issue splits Iran's presidential candidates


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The Independent Online

Iran's eight presidential candidates quarrelled about talks with world powers over the country's disputed nuclear programme on Friday as they held their final televised debate before next week's election.

Iran's president does not have control of nuclear development policy, but does generally enjoy a close relationship with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that may prove influential. The issue has come to the fore alongside the Islamic republic's ailing economy as a major focus of campaigning in the run-up to the 14 June vote. Western sanctions have severely cut the nation's revenues.

Iran's former nuclear negotiator, the centrist Hasan Rowhani, suggested a more conciliatory stance at the negotiating table. Iran's main nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, a Khamenei loyalist, accused Mr Rowhani of appeasing the West. An independent conservative candidate, Mohsen Rezaei, said Mr Rowhani's and Mr Jalili's positions were each extreme in their own right.