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Iran candidate warns ultraconservative election win will mean more sanctions

Iranian presidential candidate Abdolnasser Hemmati speaks with state-run TV journalists upon arrival to attend the final debate of the candidates, at a TV studio in Tehran, Iran, June 12, 2021. (Ayoub Ghaderi/ Young Journalists Club, YJC via AP)
Iranian presidential candidate Abdolnasser Hemmati speaks with state-run TV journalists upon arrival to attend the final debate of the candidates, at a TV studio in Tehran, Iran, June 12, 2021. (Ayoub Ghaderi/ Young Journalists Club, YJC via AP)

Iran’s reformist candidate Abdolnasser Hemmati warns that a win for his ultraconservative rivals in the June 18 presidential election will 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?” says ex-central banker Hemmati in a final televised election debate. “Let me put this very clearly: new sanctions with a stronger global consensus.”

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.

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

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