TEHRAN, Iran (ArmRadio)— Representatives of the Armenian community in Iran have addressed demands to Iranian presidential hopefuls for the upcoming elections 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 incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.
“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 Parliament (Majlis) Karen Khanlarian said in an interview.
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,” Khanlarian said.
The lawmaker also stated that “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 Khanlarian, 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,” he said, adding, however, that “it’s hard to predict the results.”
The community has also demanded to involve Armenians in governmental activities. “We have not had any representatives in the executive body. There have been office employees, but no one has been appointed to a political post,” Khanlarian said.
The demands have been sent to all candidates, even those who withdrew from the race. No response has yet been given.
Khanlarian added that “the incumbent President has spoken about minority rights.”