Rostam Qassemi announces presidential candidacy

April 27, 2021 - 18:50

TEHRAN - Rostam Ghassemi, the oil minister in the Ahmadinejad administration, issued a statement on Tuesday officially announcing his candidacy for the June 18 presidential election.

In part of his statement prior to his press conference, Qassemi said, “We should turn secure economy to economic security.”

Qassemi also said he will extend his hand to all Iranians whose “hearts beat for Iran” with “different political persuasions” to help make the country prosperous.

On his possible government’s diplomacy, he also said, “We should change ‘begging diplomacy’ to the diplomacy of power.”

If the talks in Vienna for a possible revival of the 2015 nuclear deal – JCPOA - does not reach a result by June 18 it will feature high in the debates and presidential campaigns.

Qassemi was the chief of the Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters before becoming oil minister.

He said the United States “must return to the JCPOA without any preconditions.”

He added, “If I am elected (president) I myself will take the driver seat in the negotiations and negotiate with power.”

The former chief of the IRGC construction unit said he has crafted two plans. He said one plan is to increase the living standards of 50 million Iranians who have been pushed to the poverty and the other is to restructure economy and banking system.

He also insisted on the need to counter corruption and creating a transparent atmosphere to develop the economy.

Last week Qassemi said if he fields candidacy, he will not withdraw in favor any candidate.

“I have not announced candidacy yet, but if I announce candidacy, I will not withdraw in favor of anybody,” Qassemi told a press conference on April 20.

He said he is fully aware of Iran’s situation and its capacities.

The former IRGC official said he has a “plan and a record”.

“The sacred defense era is my record. After the war I was active in reconstruction and I was one of the founders of the Khatam-al Anbiya (Construction) Headquarters.”

He said he has a plan to overcome the “difficult living conditions” but his major plan is to restructure state institutions.

“We need to change the rail. I have drafted plans in many areas which are based on global experience.”   

 “Lifting sanctions is first priority and making them ineffective comes next”

In his April 20 press conference, he also said lifting sanctions is a “first priority” and making sanctions ineffective comes next.

Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal – JCPOA – started talks in Vienna on April 9 to possibly revitalize the agreement now that the Biden administration has expressed willingness to rejoin the multilateral pact. The next round of talks started on Tuesday. The delegations returned to their capitals last week for consultations.

Though all sides have expressed optimism over the revitalization of the JCPOA there is no guarantee that the nuclear deal talks will bear fruit during the Rouhani administration, whose term ends in August.

“Now removing sanctions is the first priority and making them ineffective is the next priority. If I want to negotiate, I will strengthen the country’s economy,” Qassemi pointed out.

The former director of the IRGC construction unit added, “I see no ban on having relations with all countries in the world except the Zionist regime.”


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