Every citizen with ‘any dress’ has right to run for president: ex-defense chief

TEHRAN – Former defense minister Hossein Dehqan who has announced his candidacy for the June presidential elections has said that every citizen in “any dress” has the right to contest presidential elections.

The remarks by Dehqan comes as some have raised eyebrows about the candidacy of figures with military background.

In an interview with the ISNA news agency published on Tuesday, Dehqan said I believe that the society should be sensitive toward the competence of individuals rather than their profession.

Saeid Mohammad, commander of the Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters, also resigned his post on Sunday to possibly run in the presidential election. The Khatam-al Anbiya headquarters is the construction unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

Dehqan, who was defense minister in President Rouhani’s first administration from 2013-2017, says practicing politics is not restricted to certain individuals. He asks: “Hasn’t a lawyer the right to field candidacy? Shouldn’t anybody who is active in private sector field candidacy?”

He adds, “Anybody in any dress has the right to be a candidate in elections.”

Dehqan says as a military person has a “civil right” to vote in elections he also has a civil right to nominate in every election.

On a question that certain politicians are concerned that if a person with military career is elected president, he will make “military thinking” dominant in the county, he asked, “What does military thinking mean?”

He says even the characteristics of a military person can be useful for the society.

“In regard to the current status of the society, even these characteristics may be more useful than the characteristics of certain politicians for the country.”

He cited “patriotism” and a feeling of being the “solider of the country” are the most important characteristics of a figure with military background.

“In fact, the military person is ready to sacrifice his life for his country. Being disciplined, timely, purposeful… having strategy to materialize a goal are other characteristics of a military person.”

However, he added, a non-military person may also have such features.

Asked whether he is entering the presidential race independently or he is allied to certain faction or group, Dehqan said, “I don’t believe in today’s political currents, because ‘real party’ does not exist in the country. Unfortunately, we have ‘front’ or ‘group’ instead of party in the country, and members are constantly joining this or that group. They look where are their (personal) interests, or where are the tools of power.”

On the other hand, he says, restricting presidential post to particular political faction is synonymous with losing the competence and potential of other factions.

The people are not going to vote for candidates based on their areas of activities. “In fact, people vote for the plans and competence of candidates not their job.”

He said if in the previous elections candidates with military backgrounds did not succeed to win the vote of the electorate it was because they failed to clarify their plans to the people properly.

“In fact, people want a person in this post that can powerfully counter favoritism and corruption and find executive solutions for the country’s crisis through prudence.”

He also advises the Biden administration to respect the interests of the nations in West Asia and leave the region.

“Now it is the U.S. that must make a choice not us,” Dehqan notes.

“They can either make the wall of mistrust or hostility taller or abandon plot against free nations so that we can witness a ‘new chapter’ in the relations between the two countries,” the former defense chief points out.

The remarks by Dehqan comes as Iran and the U.S. are caught in a dispute over which side should first return to its commitments under the JCPOA, the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has been insisting that it is still a party to the deal though it has reduced its commitments to the agreement in accordance to paragraph 36 of the multilateral agreement in order to create a balance between rights and obligations.

As a party that has left the agreement, the U.S. is legally tasked to rejoin the agreement first.

Iran has clearly and repeatedly announced if the U.S. lifts sanctions it will return to full compliance with the JCPOA.



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