The sole reformist candidate in Iran’s presidential election has vowed to try to resolve the stand-off with world powers over the nuclear deal “at first chance” if he is elected.
In an interview with the Financial Times, former central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati, who fought a tough opponent in Friday’s vote, said that if he wins the priority, it will be recovery. The 2015 nuclear agreement, the agreement to lift US sanctions and attract foreign investment. investment.
“If the U.S. resumes its commitment under the JCPOA [the nuclear accord] Iran can verify that they have lifted the sanctions. .. This will be an important step in building trust between Iran and the United States,” he said.
Opinion polls show that Hemmati is far behind his main tough opponent Ebrahim Raisi, and his chances of a shocking victory seem high. But the 64-year-old said that he has asked Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s top diplomat and one of the creators of the nuclear agreement, to join his government.
He added that if sanctions are lifted and conditions are improved, a meeting with US President Joe Biden is “not impossible.” “In general, I don’t refuse [the possibility of talks with the US] But it will depend on the actions and actions of the United States,” he said. “My first task is to lift the sanctions. This is very important,” he added.
Hemmati’s comments highlighted the stakes in the election and highlighted the differences between the reformists and their hardline rivals after four years of hostility between Tehran and the Trump administration.
The front-runner Raisi said that if he wins, he will support the ongoing negotiations between Tehran and the remaining signatories of the nuclear agreement — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — that are designed to facilitate The United States rejoined the agreement and lifted sanctions.
But analysts said that the head of the judiciary, Rethy, is expected to adopt a more conservative approach, rather than prioritizing relations with Western countries. Raisi has stated that his focus will be on promoting domestic industrial production. This makes him more in line with the position expressed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, and many Iranians suspect that he supports Raisi. Although Khamenei has the final say on all important foreign and security policies, the president can influence Iran’s direction.
The outgoing president, Hassan Rouhani, signed the nuclear agreement in 2015, under which Tehran agreed to severely restrict its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions by the United States. But after Donald Trump unilaterally let the United States withdraw from the agreement and imposed sanctions on the Republic in 2018, the agreement broke down. Trump’s “extreme pressure” campaign plunged Iran into a spiral recession, severely weakened the reformists who supported the agreement, and encouraged hardliners who refused to contact the United States.
Biden promised that if Iran fully abides by the agreement again, he will rejoin the agreement. However, Iran’s refusal to make concessions to support regional militant groups and their increasingly complex missile programs complicates any opportunities for easing hostilities.
Hemmati is a mild-spoken technocrat who has led the central bank through the crisis. He said that the Iranian economy can withstand sanctions. But he added that US punitive measures will prevent the republic from developing at the speed needed to resolve Iran’s economic difficulties.
“We cannot achieve rapid and steady economic development in a closed atmosphere. We need foreign technology, investment and capital,” he said. “Foreign policy should serve Iran’s economic development. This will be the top priority of our government.”
Analysts say that if Raisi fails to get more than 50% of the votes, Hemmati has the only chance to win. There will be a runoff, and Iranians who support democracy may vote for Hemmati.
After the authorities banned all major reformist candidates, it became important for him to run for president at the last minute. However, after the turmoil of the past three years, many Iranians’ sense of despair and their promise that the nuclear agreement will bring prosperity and end years of isolation was broken, and his campaign was undermined. Therefore, many supporters of the reformists stated that they would boycott the election because the predicted turnout rate may be the lowest in the presidential election since the 1979 revolution.
Iran’s elections have an unpredictable history, and people close to Hemati say they remain optimistic. But his hope depends on convincing disillusioned voters that their votes can have an impact.
“The relationship between the people and the country has weakened-this is a fact. I ran to tell people that it can be changed,” he said.
He described voting as “the day of destiny.” “It can open some windows of hope for people, and we shouldn’t let these windows close,” he said. “If this happens, it is not clear when they will reopen and what will happen before these windows reopen.”