Candidates mustn’t address ‘professional’ conscription: military spokesman 

May 30, 2021 - 20:45

TEHRAN - Spokesman for Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi instructed the presidential candidates to refrain from addressing the issue of compulsory military service. 

“Candidates for the 13th presidential election are by no means allowed to address issues such as professional conscription in order to gain votes,” Shekarchi said, according to state news agency IRNA. 

The spokesman said the issue of conscription requires “expert work” in the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces. 

Iran is among the countries that still use compulsory conscription to beef up their armed forces. In Iran, all young men above the age of 18 are required to perform compulsory military service for nearly two years. Those who avoid conscription face a variety of fines and restrictions such as deprivation of government jobs and a ban on traveling abroad. 

Shekarchi said it is up to the military to decide on conscription. “The Joint Staff of the Armed Forces will deal with anything that has an effect on the country's defense authority and can use the great potential of the country's youth and take into account the interests of the youth,” he said, adding, “Of course, the result of the expert work will be such that in addition to paying attention to the youth, there will be no harm to the security and national interests and the deterrent power of the country; with this explanation that all the considerations that exist about the dear youth of the country are also taken into account.”

He underlined that the presidential candidates should avoid using the issue of conscription as a way to gain votes. “They know that they should not use some keywords that are only used for elections,” Shekarchi said.

Iran’s 13th presidential election will be held on June 18 with seven candidates from different political backgrounds on the ballot. The candidates got the go-ahead from the Guardian Council to start their campaigning after the vetting process resulted in seven candidates being qualified to run for president. 

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