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Khazali: Iran’s Conservatives and Reformists have Distorted the Country’s Identity | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Prospective presidential candidate Mehdi Khazali (AFP)

London – Hours after submitting his candidacy for Iran’s May 19 presidential elections, Mehdi Khazali told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that he was looking forward to ending his country’s adventures in Syria and Iraq and normalizing relations with Arab countries.

In a phone interview, Khazali said that Iran has hampered the success of the “Arab Spring”, stressing that the “Iranians’ mistakes were behind the emergence of ISIS in the face of the Quds Force, and the destruction of Syria and Iraq.”

The Iranian politician pledged to put back his country in the heart of the international community, and to build good relations with Washington through positive cooperation.

He also expressed skepticism over President Hassan Rouhani’s ability to overcome current challenges facing Tehran.

Khazali criticized both conservative and reformist movements for practicing wrong policies over 39 years and seeking enmities with other states. He noted in this regard that such practices have dragged the country into poverty and corruption.

About 126 candidates submitted their names on the first day of candidate registration for Iran’s May 19 presidential elections, Iran’s ILNA reported on Tuesday.

“The only solution to the current situation is to restore the country’s great history and promote peace,” Khazali told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He stated that Iran was in need for a “change of thinking” in order to overcome the current situation, improve economic life and encourage international banks and foreign investors to work in the Persian country.

Khazali, 51, is a physician and political activist, and was one of the main political figures to get arrested by the Iranian security bodies following the protests of 2009. He currently serves as the secretary general of the Freedom Front, a party within the reformist movement. He is the son of Abolghasem Khazali, who was a prominent member of the Assembly of Experts for Constitution.

The prospective presidential candidate called on the Iranian people to support his electoral campaign, which he said was aimed at diffusing tension and promoting positive cooperation with the international community.

He also stressed that normalizing relations with Arab states was among his highest priorities.

If elected president, Khazali said he would form a competent technocrat government.