Hossein Dehghan, a military advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who is running for presidency in the cleric-led country, is lobbying against suggestions that the next president should not be drawn from the military.

In an interview with ISNA news agency this week, Dehghan asserted that there is no reason to exclude Revolutionary Guard or other military candidates from the race.

“The law does not prohibit a military person from running in elections,” he told ISNA, stressing that the civil rights of military personnel include voting and competing in the ballot.

Dehghan urged voters not to allow “fear” to influence their choice, explaining that the next president should be elected based on “merit” and how they fit the aspirations of the Iranian society.

Dehghan was the first to announce his presidential bid on November 25.

Dehghan, a former Revolutionary Guard air force brigadier general who served as President Hassan Rouhani’s defense minister between 2013 and 2017, argued that “practicing politics is not exclusive to certain individuals.”

Responding to fears of military rule taking over the nation, Dehghan said that imposing martial law in Iran was not possible.

As for Iran’s political landscape, Dehghan said he does not believe in currently established parties.

“There are no political parties in the full sense of the word,” he noted.

During his time as defense minister, Dehghan worked hard to project the image of a moderate and technocratic military leader. He played a role in quelling tensions between Rouhani and hardliners who opposed the Iran nuclear deal.

Prominent Guard members are lining up for this summer’s presidential election.

Slotted for June 18, this year’s presidential race is critical for many reasons. The vote will truly test the regime in Iran, where voter turnout for parliamentary elections in 2020 plummeted to a record low.

Authorities in Iran are highly concerned with the widening gap between Iranians and the ruling establishment, especially after popular protests against the deteriorating living conditions having erupted nationwide in 2017.

Source » aawsat