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The New Arab Staff

Iran's only presidential candidate says Biden foreign policy continues 'Trumpism'

Dehghan is under US sanctions for his alleged involvement with Lebanon's Hezbollah [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2021

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Hossein Dehghan dimmed hopes for a thaw in US-Iran relations.
A former Iranian defence minister, who is currently the only named candidate in the country's upcoming elections, has dismissed the nascent foreign policy of US President Joe Biden's administration as a continuation of "Trumpism".

Hossein Dehgan - a controversial aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei - told The Guardian that the Biden administration's rhetoric of "diplomacy, multilateralism and interaction the international area" would fail to measure with facts-on-the-ground.

"We still see the same policies from the newly elected administration as we did from the Trump team: not lifting the oppressive sanctions against Iranian people, continuing to block Iran oil revenue in foreign banks while we need the money to fight against the coronavirus pandemic," he told the newspaper.

"Altogether this means the continuation of Trumpism in international relations," he added.

Throughout the interview, Dehgan dimmed hopes for any thaw in US-Iran relations, saying that Tehran's course of diplomacy would change later this month, on the day it plans to restrict access to nuclear sites for UN weapons inspectors.

He also played down the notion of either side offering symbolic 'goodwill gestures' before a new deal is agreed, such as the US lifting its block on Iran's request for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We planned to have the loan to fight against Covid-19 pandemic… that is our right as one of the founders of IMF," he said.

He added that Washington's "unilateral and illegal sanctions" meant that it was not in a position to set preconditions to the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA).

Dehgan, a hard-headed and uncompromising figure who served as a former commander for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is sanctioned by the US for his alleged involvement in "terrorist operations" in Lebanon through the Hezbollah movement.

Questions hang over his fate in upcoming elections, with analysts failing to see him as a serious candidate amid broader concerns over the military’s involvement in politics in Iran.

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

Dehgan, for his part, said his experience in both civilian and military sectors qualified him for the job.

"I am not solely a military person. I am an academic, I taught mainly in non-military centres, I have been an adviser in many social and foreign policy issues," he said.

"I have been the manager of many economic entities. I have all the characteristics of a military person regarding punctuality, leadership, teamwork and a goals-orientated approach."

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