Tue May 9, 2017 10:6AM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (photo by Reuters)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (photo by Reuters)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on presidential candidates in the country to always pursue a “people-oriented” policy instead of raising popular slogans just in the run-up to the polls.

In an address to a congress of the Iranian Surgeons Association in Tehran on Tuesday, Zarif said, “Being people-oriented is not a slogan, it’s a policy.”

“Popular slogans should not be raised just several days and weeks before the election, rather, [adopting] a people-centered policy, serving people, and removing the burden from people’s shoulders should be considered as the main source of authority for the country,” he said.

Iranians will go to the polls on May 19 to elect a new president and members of local City and Village Councils, with more than 50 million people eligible to vote. 

Iranians watch the presidential candidates’ second live debate on state TV, in Tehran, May 5, 2017.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Iranian diplomat warned against bringing people’s dignity into question by pursuing a “short-sighted political campaign” meant to secure interests that will last only a few days at a time when the world has “bowed” before Iran.

Zarif told the surgeons that they had been witness to a time when there was no access to the smallest of the medical equipment needed to save people’s lives.

“We saw that we needed to resort to any method of bypassing sanctions to buy medicine… and there was a shortage of 700 kinds of required medicines,” he said.

He referred to the sanctions that had been placed on Iran over its nuclear program and said it was not just the bans that had been imposed but also a wrong image of the Iranian people.

He said the countries that had imposed the bans had created a situation in which cooperation with Iran would be a violation of law.

Iran had those sanctions terminated under a deal that it reached with the P5+1 countries — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany — in July 2015. Foreign Minister Zarif was Iran’s lead negotiator in the intensive talks that culminated in the deal, which some of the candidates running for presidency have criticized.

In his Tuesday remarks, Zarif said he was thankful to God because, despite all the problems, Iran and Iranians could now hold their heads high, progress was taking place in science, and the people’s livelihoods were improving.