Saturday, July 06, 2024

Iran’s elections: Change brings new opportunities for Iran's new president--Masoud Pezeshkian

    Saturday, July 06, 2024   No comments

Foreground:

Mere weeks after the tragic death of several Iranian officials including the president, Iran managed to elect a new president, while a caretaker government was headed by the vice president. The successful transition is only part of the story in a country with complex social fabric and complex relations with the world. What might be lost on many observers is the historical election of a president who represents ethnic and linguistic minorities in Iran.

Masoud Pezeshkian, born in 1954 in the city of Mahabad in West Azerbaijan Province, northeastern Iran to a deeply religious Shia family to parents of both Kurdish and Azeri background. He was raised in a religious family. He often speaks of being proud Turkish speaker. Now that he is elected president of Iran, he will be the first ethnic minority office holder in a region where Kurdish minorities are marginalized in all four countries-Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. 

Being from Azerbaijan Province, he will be able to dial down the rhetoric among Azeris who are Shia in terms of faith but Turkic in terms of ethnicity. Having family connections to the Kurdish community, he will also be able to address the separatist activities with which all four countries have struggled since the end of direct colonial control of the region. His political activism in the movement that brought about the modern Islamic republic of Iran provide him with the credibility to work out change through the various institutions of power. In short, this election cycle might be as significant of a turning point as the one that took place 1981 when another Iranian president, Mohammad Ali Rajaʾi, was killed, and who was replaced Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader.

Background: 

Pezeshkian completed his primary education in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, and then joined the Agricultural Institute in Urmia, where he received a diploma in food industries.

 

He completed his military service in 1973 in the border city of Zabol, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, and after completing his service, he decided to become a doctor, and received his natural diploma in 1975. A year later, he was accepted into the medical field at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences.

 

With the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, Pezeshkian was responsible for sending medical teams to the battlefronts, and was active in many operations as a fighter and a doctor.

 

He completed his medical course in 1985, and began working at the Faculty of Medicine as a physiology teacher. In 1990, he received a specialty in general surgery from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, and in 1993 he received a specialty in cardiac surgery from Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, and was appointed to Shahid Madani Heart Hospital in Tabriz, and later became its head.

  

In 1994, he was appointed as the head of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, and his presidency continued until 2000. Then he was transferred to Tehran and assumed the position of Deputy Minister of Health, Treatment and Medical Education for 6 months.

 

After that, in the second term of Mr. Mohammad Khatami's presidency, Pezeshkian assumed the position of Minister of Health, and after a while he was questioned by the parliament, and then he left his position. In 2013, he ran for president, but his candidacy was rejected by the Guardian Council. In 2016, he won a seat in the parliament and held a seat in parliament for many years. Since 2008, Pezeshkian has represented the city of Tabriz in the Iranian parliament.

 Pezeshkian believes that Iran's internal problems cannot be solved without solving problems with the outside world, and stresses that the country's management is based on constructive engagement with the world on the basis of dialogue and negotiation with various countries.

 Pezeshkian also calls for improving relations between Iran and Western countries, especially the United States, based on the three pillars of "dignity, wisdom, and interest."

 

He announced that he will put at the top of his government's priorities the revival of the nuclear agreement, which is in Iran's interest, and if it were not, former US President Donald Trump would not have withdrawn from it.

 Pezeshkian believes that it is in Iran's interest to join the "FATF" (Financial Action Task Force) in order to develop and facilitate trade with other countries.

 

Pezeshkian stressed that he will put an end to the differences between political forces, which he says are the "main cause of the country's problems," by seeking the help of the best experts and specialists.

 

He promised that he would follow up on the problems of workers, retirees and employees and work in a way that eliminates poverty, discrimination and corruption in the country, stressing the need to deal honestly with the public and not give empty promises, promising to involve the people in running the country and not a specific group.

 

He also promised to deal positively with women's issues, freedom of access to the Internet, constitutional rights of nationalities, and political and social freedoms.

 

Pezeshkian won the Iranian presidential elections after receiving 16,384,403 votes, compared to 13,538,179 votes for candidate Saeed Jalili, thus becoming the ninth elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, since the victory of the Islamic Revolution led by Imam Khomeini in 1979.

 

After his election, Iranian President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian said on Saturday that he would "extend a hand of friendship to everyone" in his first statement after being declared the winner of the second round of presidential elections.

"We will extend a hand of friendship to everyone, we are all the people of this country. We must rely on everyone for the progress of the country," Pezeshkian told state television.

"I extend my hand to you and I will not abandon you, and I also ask you to be by my side," he said in a post on the X platform. "We have a difficult path ahead of us and it can only be overcome with your sympathy, trust and cooperation," he added.


Reaction to the election of president


Ayatollah Khamenei said, "It is appropriate that the competition during the elections should turn into friendships and that everyone should do their best for the prosperity of Iran," recommending everyone in Iran to "cooperate and think well for the progress and prosperity of the country."


The Leader of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic also pointed out that "the Iranian people were able to elect a president with a majority of votes through free and transparent elections in a short legal period."


He pointed out that the Iranian elections are "a great move in the face of the fabricated uproar to boycott the elections that the enemy has raised with the aim of spreading despair among the ranks of the Iranian people."


For his part, the acting Iranian President Mohammad Mokhber said that "the presidential elections have presented beautiful scenes of the sovereignty of the Iranian people to observers in the world," adding that "the main winner in these elections is the people."



For his part, the Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, congratulated Pezeshkian and stressed the Guards' readiness to continue cooperation and enhance joint work with the government.


Regional and world leaders reach out to Iran's new president


Iranian President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian received congratulatory telegrams from his counterparts, heads of state and officials, on Saturday, after winning the Iranian presidential elections.


In the Arab world, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent a telegram to Pezeshkian to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential elections, and addressed him saying that he will work with him to strengthen the Syrian-Iranian strategic relationship and open new promising horizons for bilateral cooperation.


President al-Assad said in his congratulatory telegram: "I congratulate you on the confidence of the dear Iranian people, and I congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran, its leadership and people, on the success of the electoral process, wishing you success and prosperity in everything that preserves Iran's security, stability and strength."


He added: "Your impregnable country, as it has always been, is one of the most important countries with which we are keen to maintain relations at their peak, because this relationship is based on roots that have been established over decades of mutual respect, common understanding and firm principles, which Syria and Iran have always adhered to."


President al-Assad concluded his telegram by stressing the need to work to strengthen the Syrian-Iranian strategic relationship and open new promising horizons for bilateral cooperation, adding: "Resistance will remain the common approach that we follow to preserve the dignity of our country and defend the interests of its people."


In turn, Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid congratulated the Islamic Republic of Iran on the success of the elections, congratulating Zeshkian on his victory in the elections, wishing him success in his work duties, in order to achieve the ambitions and aspirations of the Iranian people.



Rashid stressed his keenness to strengthen relations between Iraq and Iran, in a way that serves the interests of the two neighboring countries and peoples.

Nechirvan Barzani, President of Kurdistan Region of Iraq, congratulated Iran's President-elect Masoud Al-Bazikian and emphasized on the development of friendly relations and continued joint cooperation.



Also, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud sent a congratulatory telegram to Pezeshkian on the occasion of his victory in the presidential elections.


Bin Abdulaziz stressed his country's aspiration to continue developing relations between the two brotherly countries, and to continue coordination and consultation in order to enhance regional and international security and peace.

The congratulatory message of the ruler of the UAE, Muhammad bin Zayed:

Congratulation to Dr. Masoud Mezikian on his election as the President of Iran. "I wish him success in his role and look forward to working together to further strengthen relations between the UAE and Iran for the benefit of both nations."


International congratulations

As for the international level, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the new Iranian president on his victory in the presidential elections in Iran.


The Kremlin statement, today, Saturday, quoting the president's congratulatory telegram, said that "Russian-Iranian relations are friendly and based on good neighborliness," noting that "Moscow and Tehran coordinate their efforts effectively to resolve pressing issues on the international agenda."

In his congratulatory telegram, the Russian president expressed his aspiration to increase the level of cooperation with Iran in all areas, including "in the interests of facilitating regional security."


Putin added: "I hope that your activities as president will contribute to further expanding constructive bilateral cooperation in all areas for the benefit of our friendly peoples, in the service of facilitating regional security and stability."


Putin wished Peseshkian success in his duties and good health and prosperity.



Venezuela also congratulated the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the commitment they showed towards their country's democracy, which they expressed in the second round of the presidential elections, which gave victory to Masoud Pezeshkian as the new president of the republic.


Chinese President congratulates Pezeshkian on winning Iranian presidential election. 


Congratulatory message of the President of Serbia, Alexander Vucic:

Sincere congratulations to the president of Iran, your victory shows the trust of the citizens in your vision for the future, commitment to peace and desire for the progress of your country.


I am sure that your leadership will bring happiness and prosperity to your people.




 


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