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Iran’s reformist candidate emphasizes his Turkish heritage at every opportunity

Masoud Pezeshkian with his identification document while registering as a candidate for the June 28 presidential election, Tehran, June 13, 2024, Associated Press epa11383256 Iranian lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian registers his candidacy during the first day of registration for the Iranian presidential election at the Interior Ministry in Tehran, Iran, 01 June 2024. Iran will hold presidential election on 28 June 2024. EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH
By Newsroom
Jun 22, 2024 7:11 PM

The presidential elections, scheduled for June 28 due to the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on May 19, are marked by the statements of reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian, who identifies as Turkish.

Pezeshkian, a former health minister and a long-serving MP from Tabriz, has consistently emphasized his Turkish heritage during his presidential campaign, as he has throughout his political career.

“The reason for the rise of Turkish nationalism is the regime’s unfair attitude towards ethnic identities,” Pezeshkian said in response to a question about pan-Turkism on a recent television program. He argued that not only Turks but also Baluchs, Arabs, and Sunnis are excluded due to a lack of merit.

In his latest statement, Pezeshkian said, “I am a Turk, not a Persian. I was born in South Azerbaijan, and both my mother and father are Turks. I am proud of this.” Pezeshkian added, “God made me a Turk, and I thank God for that.”

While the reformist candidate’s open expression of his Turkish identity disturbs ardent defenders of the current Iranian system, it is likely to increase voter turnout in South Azerbaijan. Additionally, Baluchs, Kurds, Arabs, and Sunnis are expected to support Pezeshkian.

Last Updated:  Jun 22, 2024 10:21 PM