Graphic shows candidates for the June 2021 election.
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POLITICS

Iran’s presidential election candidates

By Duncan Mil

October 13, 2020 - June 18, 2021 - Iranians will elect a new president in June 2021 from conservative candidates whose influence has surged since U.S. President Donald Trump quit the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed devastating sanctions.

Iran’s Guardian Council -- the nation’s constitutional watchdog -- has set June 18, 2021, as the date for the country’s next presidential election. The vote will choose a successor to President Hassan Rouhani, who staked his career on clinching a historic nuclear deal in 2015 that would lead to Iran’s economic prosperity.

Candidates for the election must be vetted by the hardline Guardian Council, whose members are appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed between President Rouhani and the U.S., UK, France, China, Russia and Germany, promised to be a path to international acceptance.

Iran is also grappling with the Trump administration’s latest push to impose so-called “snapback” sanctions over what Washington says is Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal.

In September, Germany, France and Britain eschewed Trump’s demands for a snapback -- a move that could further jeopardise the nuclear deal. The move came as Tehran agreed to a request by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect a second suspected atomic site.

“Providing access to the IAEA is a positive signal that Iran is trying to send to the remaining JCPOA signatories,” Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East North Africa Programme at Chatham House said.

“Compliance and good behaviour is really important to send signals to the remaining signatories to keep the JCPOA alive,” she said.

A hardline Iranian president will have little incentive to formally abandon the deal that could yet present a lifeline for Iran’s devastated economy.

PUBLISHED: 13/10/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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