Abdol-Naser Hemmati said on Twitter that he would invite Mohammad-Javad Zarif to serve in his cabinet as either Vice President or Foreign Minister. Citing the lifting of sanctions as a priority for his government, Hemmati said Zarif will need to stay in a senior role as negotiations continue.
Mohsen Rezaei appeared on a Clubhouse Q&A session this evening to promote his campaign. Rezaei promised to resolve the JCPOA nuclear agreement immediately upon taking office and to sign the FATF once sanctions are lifted. Rezaei said he would improve the process for vetting presidential candidates by providing “specialised tools” to the Guardian Council and promised to better manage internet filtering but not eliminate it. Rezaei also promised to include Sunni Iranians in his cabinet.
One-time favourite candidate, Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif, released a video on Instagram in which he beseeched Iranians to vote for the good of Iran. Zarif said that boycotting was not a solution, and voting would be a blow to Iran’s enemies, particularly Israel. Zarif added that voting will not only accelerate the end of sanctions but will also insulate Iran from future sanctions.
Abdol-Naser Hemmati told Associated Press that if elected, he would be willing to meet directly with US President Joe Biden. Hemmati added that the US would have to return to the JCPOA first, meaning lifting sanctions, without any additional restrictions being added to the existing nuclear deal. Aside from a phone conversation between Rouhani and Obama in 2013, no Iranian leader has had a direct interaction with an American leader since the Revolution.
Ali-Reza Zakani said in an online interview, that once elected, the United States would beg Iran to return to the JCPOA, and this would mean the lifting of sanctions. Despite describing the JCPOA as a defective agreement, Zakani said that the US is desperate to return to it, and he would be able to facilitate to Iran’s advantage. In the same interview Zakani was asked about his wealth, where he revealed that he and his wife own three properties in Tehran and Qom.
Mohammad-Javad Zarif travelled to Syria today in a strong indication that he did not intend to register. Hours later, he released a statement on Instagram where he stated unequivocally that he will not register, adding that “my candidacy would be at the cost of destroying national cohesion, the self-confidence, hope and trust of the people”. Zarif requested that he now be left to pursue the JCPOA and ending sanctions for Iran, and that the issue of his candidacy (and by implication the leaked audio file) be put aside.
Speaking on the JCPOA, President Hassan Rouhani said that the United States and European countries have agreed to list sanctions effective immediately, without elaborating on the specifics. He added that the negotiations were ongoing, but only in order to sort out some specific details of the agreement.
Conservative candidate Saeed Jalili, in reflecting on the Rouhani administration, said that its shortcoming was its focus on one issue, the JCPOA, in which it did not succeed. Jalili added that if the officials are unable to counter the sanctions against Iran, then it is inevitable that the burden will be on the people, which Jalili said is unacceptable.