TEHRAN, May 7 (UPI) -- Conservative Iranian presidential contender Mohsen Rezaei blamed the administration Thursday for $1 billion in missing oil revenue, pledging its recovery.
A national audit in February for the Iranian Parliament found a $1.1 billion budget surplus from oil revenues was not turned over to Treasury officials.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discounted the findings, saying the audit was an attempt to undermine the government. Audit officials, however, challenged the administration to come forward with evidence to back the claims.
Rezaei, a former commander of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps and current Principlist candidate for president, blamed the missing revenue on the current administration, promising to return the funds to the Iranian people, Press TV reports.
"I will find the missing oil money and return it to you, the people of Iran," he said. "I do not seek revenge, but I will not shut my eyes to what happens to public funds."
Meanwhile, Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, a campaign manager for Ahmadinejad, said the incumbent president would run on a message of justice.
"That is why the people voted for him" in 2005, he said. "So it is only natural that we will be trying to send the same message, while seeking to provide further clarification for the people about this approach."
Ahmadinejad faces stiff opposition for the June 12 vote from Rezaei in the Principlist camp and former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi on the Reformist ticket.