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Alireza Zakani on the campaign trail

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Candidate Alireza Zakani is seen ahead of the first presidential debate on live TV, in Tehran, on June 5, 2021. (Photo by YGC)

Read quick updates on what Alireza Zakani says on the campaign trail below. Check routinely for new content.


[Saturday, June 12,2021]


[Friday, June 11, 2021]

In an interview with Iran’s English-language Press TV and Arabic-language Al-Alam news networks, Zakani offered a brief outline of the foreign policy he would pursue if he won the presidential election, slated for June 18.

He said the United States can return to the 2015 nuclear deal only if it removes, verifiably, all the sanctions it imposed on Iran in the wake of abandoning the accord and provides guarantees that it will honor its contractual obligations.

He said he would work to change the approach in the foreign policy “from inaction to active, smart diplomacy,” a process under which Iran’s 15 neighbors would be regarded as “a serious priority,” followed by the resistance axis and other Muslim countries.

Zakani said he would go for making changes to the Foreign Ministry as his “first and most serious” measure if he becomes president to enable the diplomatic apparatus to follow up on economic and cultural ties with other countries besides political interactions.

Next come the ties with the Eastern powers such as China and Russia, said Zakani, adding that the country can pursue agreements for long-term interactions with those powers.

On relations with the West, Zakani said the 1979 Islamic Revolution has enabled Iran to end the policy of submission to the Westerners and base its relations with them on “common interests and mutual respect.”


[Friday, June 11, 2021]

In a meeting with a group of women, Zakani, a veteran lawmaker, stressed the necessity of expanding social freedoms and paving the way for the people to exercise their civil right to freely hold demonstrations.

“The people’s right to protest should be written into law. The protests should be held at the headquarters of Friday Prayers or any other place agreed up on,” Zakani said. “We will set up a popular jury to examine the people’s protests and the officials’ statements of defense.”

Zakani also spoke of a crucial need to safeguard family foundations and said he would form, if elected, a ministry of family, children and youth, which will be headed by a woman.

“A woman will be in charge of the ministry, something that would both serve as a model for the participation of women in the society and protect their rights in the family and the entire society,” Zakani said.


[Wednesday, June 9, 2021]

In a press conference organized by Tasnim, Zakani, an outspoken critic of the 2015 nuclear deal, said he would continue negotiations with the five parties to the agreement, if he is elected, to get back the rights of the Iranian nation that were violated following the US’s unilateral withdrawal over three years ago.

Zakani said regardless of the nature of the nuclear deal, which he has repeatedly criticized, “We have been pursuing a series of demands” as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal’s official name.

“Under the current circumstances, the United States and Europe have failed to fulfill their JCPOA commitments; therefore, it is necessary for us to continue negotiations with these countries to get back Iran’s rights,” said Zakani. “We will follow up on this case.”


[Tuesday, June 8, 2021]


[Monday, June 07, 2021]

Zakani told reporters that Iran can wean itself from oil sales by activating a dormant capacity in the polymer sector.

“We should render sanctions ineffective by… relying on domestic capacities… There is an unused capacity of 8.1 million tons in the polymer sector; the factory is there, but it is rundown and its equipment needs to be renovated and upgraded in terms of technology,” Zakani said. “The 8.1 million ton enables us to increase the 100- to 160-dollar added value of raw material to 460 dollars and no more need to sell oil.”

He referred to his meetings with manufacturers and said they “swear they can activate the 8.1 million tons in three years.


[Saturday, June 5, 2021]

During the first TV presidential debate centering around economy, Zakani hit out at rival Reformist candidate Nasser Hemmati for what he described as dealing a blow to the national currency, saying ironically, “He (Hemmati) says he’s an economist, but I think he should be awarded a Nobel Prize” for “destroying” the rial.

He said the large volume of liquidity in the country is because banks have been creating cash without the supervision of the Central Bank, headed by Hemmati until recently, something that Zakani said had set the stage for huge unpaid debts to the banks.

Zakani said if elected, he would put up a fight against financial corruption and work to pave the way for an economy with lasting growth that would create jobs and establish justice in “generating wealth and distributing it.”

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