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Iran candidate: If ultraconservative becomes president, expect more sanctions

Hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi is widely tipped to win June 18 vote, after many potential heavyweights disqualified

In this picture made available by Young Journalists Club, YJC, presidential candidates for June 18, elections Saeed Jalili, left, Abdolnasser Hemmati, center, and Alireza Zakani, conclude a part of the final debate of the candidates at a state-run TV studio in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (Morteza Fakhri Nezhad/ Young Journalists Club, YJC via AP)
In this picture made available by Young Journalists Club, YJC, presidential candidates for June 18, elections Saeed Jalili, left, Abdolnasser Hemmati, center, and Alireza Zakani, conclude a part of the final debate of the candidates at a state-run TV studio in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (Morteza Fakhri Nezhad/ Young Journalists Club, YJC via AP)

Iran’s reformist candidate Abdolnasser Hemmati warned Saturday that a win for his ultraconservative rivals in the June 18 presidential election would result in the country facing more sanctions.

Iranians are to elect a successor to President Hassan Rouhani from seven candidates — five ultraconservatives and two reformists — approved to run by the election-vetting Guardian Council from a field of some 600 hopefuls.

“What will happen if power falls into the hands of hardliners? What happens if power falls into your hands?” said ex-central banker Hemmati.

“Let me put this very clearly: new sanctions with a stronger global consensus,” he said in a final televised election debate.

The campaign coincides with negotiations in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, which was torpedoed by former US president Donald Trump who withdrew and reimposed sanctions on Iran three years later.

File: Women supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi hold up his posters during an election campaign rally in the city of Eslamshahr, about 25 kilometers south of the capital Tehran, on June 6, 2021. (AFP)

Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi is widely tipped to win, after the Guardian Council disqualified many potential heavyweights, including moderate conservative Ali Larijani.

Rouhani took office vowing to seek better ties with the West and end Iran’s economic isolation over international sanctions.

The deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear activities, but renewed sanctions have plunged the Islamic Republic into an economic and social crisis.

Raisi insisted his administration would be “committed to the JCPOA (nuclear deal) as a contract and an obligation” as confirmed by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He said that Hemmati, as a former member of Rouhani’s administration, would not be able to implement the nuclear deal because it required “a strong administration.”

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