TEHRAN (Tert.am) — All the Armenian candidates vying for seats in Iran’s legislature are concerned of the country’s interests and the local Armenian community’s socio-economic life, says Karen Khanlarian, an Armenian member of the Iranian Majilis.
“There are, however, differences in political views, which are reflected in the very platforms, and the solutions proposed. I personally have no affiliation with any political force in Iran, as Armenians have traditionally been neutral. In interethnic and [inter]community terms, I adhere to the national, democratic ideology; I consider myself an individual pursuing the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s set of values,” he explained.
The parliamentary elections in the Islamic Republic are slated for February 26. Initially, nine Armenians fielded their candidacies; two later withdrew from the campaign.
Iran’s legislature has two mandates for the Armenian community, one for a representative from the north and the other – from the south. Of the seven candidates running for election now, only two represent the south.
Khanlarian, who has been an active parliament member in the past four years, said his efforts over the past period were directed to the development of the Armenian-Iranian relations.
“Another problem I tackled over the past years was the attempt to raise the Armenian Genocide issue. We have set a task to make the Iranian legislature gradually bring itself to the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide; we invited a deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament to our Persian-language events, and he delivered condemnatory remarks in connection with the Armenian Genocide.”
Khanlarian added that he has also assisted the youth in military service- and education-related issues. As for his plans for the future, the parliament member said he now sees vast opportunities opening up to Iran after the lifting of sanctions. He said that prospects to develop trade, economic and diplomatic relations and telecommunications should also be of interest to the Armenian community.
“I have undertaken serious studies in respect of the new trade and economic opportunities to identify ways for our community to somehow improve its living standards. This can also restrict emigration from Iran, a problem that is a key objective in our community. Anti-migration efforts are among my keynote tasks. Although we are able to ensure quality and promote a certain growth, I believe that after the lifting of sanctions, migration among the Iranian Armenians will come to a halt to an extent, and some may even decide to return to Iran,” Khanlarian added.