Armenian community presents demands to Iranian presidential hopefuls




Iranians will be electing the country’s new President on May 19. Five candidates will be running in the election after Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf withdrew from the race, urging voters to cast their ballot for conservative cleric Ebrahim Rais.

At a meeting held last week representatives of the Armenian community compiled a two-page petition addressed to Iranian presidential hopefuls.

“Iranian Armenians are free to opt for any candidate. We have no lobbying in its classical sense. Most Armenians back the reformists. This does not mean, however, that there are no supporters of conservatives,” Armenian member of the Iranian Majlis Karen Khanlaryan said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

The community, however, shares common concerns, which have been presented to the candidates.

“We have raised the issue of Armenian Genocide recognition, and demanded material and moral support for the development and preservation of the Armenian community,” Karen Khanlaryan said.

Speaking about the concerns, the lawmaker said: “A number of churches and schools need to be protected, but the Armenian community is unable to cover the costs by itself. The budget allowances provided to the community are not enough,” he said.

For Karen Khanlaryan, recognition of the Armenian Genocide is of primary importance and should be on the agenda of the elected President.

“The issue of Armenian Genocide recognition should come on the agenda, considering the regional developments,” the MP said, adding, however, that “it’s hard to predict the results.”

The community has also demanded to involve Armenians in government activities. “We have not had any representative in the executive. There have been office employees, but no has been appointed to a political post,” Khanlaryan said.

The petition has been sent out to all candidates, even the one who withdrew from the race. There has not been any response.

Karen Khanlaryan noted that “the incumbent President has spoken about minority rights,” and the MP sees this as a hint.

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