Controversial Khamenei aide Hossein Dehghan announces bid to become Iran's next president

Controversial Khamenei aide Hossein Dehghan announces bid to become Iran's next president
2 min read
28 September, 2020
Former Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan will be running for Iranian elections to take place in the summer of 2021.
Hossein Deghan will run for 2021 elections [Getty]
Former Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan, a divisive figure in the country, has announced he will run for president in next year's elections.

Iran is scheduled to hold its thirteenth set of presidential elections in June 2021.

Dehghan is a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps air force officer and served as minister of defence between 2013-2017 and is considered to be a close aide of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayotallah Ali Khamenei.

He is sanctioned by the US treasury for his alleged involvement in "terrorist operations" in Lebanon through the Hezbollah movement.

Last week, Dehghan lambasted US President Donald Trump for bragging about the killing of military general Qassem Soleimani during an address to the UN.

He warned the US that any hostile action against Iran will be met with a "decisive response", alerting Trump not to "twist the lion's tail".

Analysts say he will not be treated as a serious candidate for president in Iran.

Read also: Khamenei: war with Iraq proved Iran can defend itself

"Dehghan lacks the popularity or seniority to be a serious candidate. He will likely soon be overshadowed by more serious names. But his candidacy has opened up the controversial question of military's involvement in politics; a key feature of the coming political debacles in Iran," Iranian writer and analyst Arash Azizi told The New Arab.

Despite this, Azizi said that it is still too early to tell what could happen with Dehghan's candidacy.

"There are still almost nine months left to the elections and many names will be thrown around. Many candidates will only decide whether to run, or not, based on what happens in the US presidential elections in November.

"Only much closer to the Iranian election date in June will we know who the final candidates are, based on who gets the approval by the Guardian Council. The key question is if any names will come forward (and be allowed to run) that could make the elections competitive and ensure a high turn-out.

"Every Iranian presidential elections since 1997 has been a major competitive contest and the question is if this one will also be so."

Earlier this year, Dehghan threatened Washington when appearing in CNN, saying Tehran will retaliate for the killing of Soleimani by attacking a US military site. 

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