A closer look into the presidential election candidates

May 4, 2021 - 23:42

TEHRAN— As we get closer to the registration date for the upcoming presidential election, which is on May 11, more political figures are announcing candidacy. In this report, we explore the possible candidates and their agendas.

The presidential election will take place on June 18. According to the election’s schedule, the registration will open on May 11 and will last for five days. So far, many political figures have declared candidacy. Some have even chosen campaign slogans.

‘An ambitious nuclear physicist’

Fereydon Abbasi, head of the Energy Committee of the parliament, announced that he is running for president.

His campaign slogan is “Elite government, a return to the people.” He has made it clear that he will not back off under any circumstances and will continue the battle for the presidency until the very end. 

Abbasi announced that he will seek the experts’ opinion, whether they are Reformists, or Principlists. 

“We have to employ different people who have style and thinking, whether they are young or middle-aged,” he said. 

Abbasi has declared that he is an independent candidate, who is only dependent to people. He bases his cabinet on honesty and he thinks that the government should return to the people. 

Abbasi is also the former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. He is one of the nuclear physicists who was Mossad’s assassination target in 2010, alongside martyr Dr. Majid Shahriari. A bomb was strapped to the door of his car while driving, yet, he narrowly escaped the assassination attempt. 

‘The political general’

Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council is another candidate who has officially announced that he would run for the president.

In his statement he said, “Iran seeks the establishment, stability and consolidation of successes and the growing growth of the horizons of progress and independence of the country and right and justice.”

He noted that his future government, with the help of God and the talented youth of Iran, will be named “The government of the national movement for the development of Iran and the fight against corruption and the network of infiltration.”

Rezaei believes that the imperialist system tries to prevent the advancement of the front and the movement of resistance in the region by using evil-seeking, rioting and expanding the scope of psychological and perceptual warfare in various political, social, cultural and economic fields and this decade would be the “last step to the victory of the Islamic Republic and consolidation of successes and independence and freedom of the country.”

Rezaei had previously announced candidacy three times in 2005, 2009, and 2013.

‘Economic security with Ghasemi’

Rostam Ghasemi, former Minister of Petroleum in Ahamdinejad administration, also declared candidacy. 

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

He 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.

He is in the belief that Iran should change the ‘imploring diplomacy’ to diplomacy of power.

Ghasemi also believes that the United States “must return to the JCPOA without any preconditions.”

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

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

“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,” Ghasemi pointed out.

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

On the issue of corruption, Ghasemi believes in the need to counter corruption and creating a transparent atmosphere to develop the economy.

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

Ghasemi was the chief of the Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters before becoming minister of petroleum.

‘The mysterious Mohammad’

Saeed Mohammad is perhaps the most mysterious and unknown figure on this list. He has acted off the radar for a long time during his career. 

Former director of Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters has been traveling to many cities these days, holding press conferences. 

He recently stated that Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium to up to 93%, stating that he is planning to do so if he is elected as president. 

He stressed that Iran needs this level of enrichment for submarine fuel. 

In foreign policy, he says that neighbors are his top priority, while stating that he has no problem returning to the nuclear deal obligations “if the West keep up its promise.”

He says he is running independently, and he wants to create a trans-factional identity for Iran. 

According to his interview with state TV, his plan is to choose his cabinet based on “meritocracy.”

He believes that “Iran needs to work with the youth, for the youth.”

‘The independent general’

Another prominent figure nominated for presidential election is former defense minister, Gen. Hossein Dehghan. He has been active on Twitter, spreading his thoughts on how he would run the country, if elected. 

He has stated that he has no affiliations with the current political parties in Iran, distancing himself from the Principlists and Reformists. 

Former Defense minister said, “I think that I am able to provide an atmosphere of consensus, understanding and dialogue at the national level and a space for dialogue from the position of power and dignity with the global community.”

He believes that he is able to provide the presence of “all those who are in the position and determination to serve society and the country.”

Dehghan stresses that now is not the time for political disputes.

“I think the political currents today have reached the rationale that what is important is to follow the demands of the people before pursuing the demands of the party and group. If this rationality is formed, I believe we can enter a new era in governance and politics.” 

SA/SM

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