Seyed Mohammed Bayatiyan is planning on running in the June election, the eleventh presidential polls since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Photo: ISNA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran’s first ever ethnically Kurdish presidential hopeful is counting on the votes of the young, and those of the country’s Kurdish minority. But first, he has to get the green light to run by Iran’s conservative Guardian Council.
“I will have 80 percent of the Kurdish votes due to the Kurdish national cause,” said Seyed Mohammed Bayatiyan, who is planning on running in the June election, the eleventh presidential polls since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Kurdish support, he says, should win him seven million votes.
“The post revolution’s third generation has been ignored, even though they can run the country very well,” Bayatiyan told Rudaw, adding that if he wins he will pay special attention to Iran’s northern Kurdish regions.
Bayatiyan, a Shiite Kurd who represents the district of Bijar in Iran’s Kurdistan province in parliament, holds a master’s degree and before being elected to the legislature was a professor at the Imam Khomeini University in Qazvin.
But he must still await the approval of the Guardian Council, which will determine if he has the constitutional qualifications to run, including experience as a politician.
Bayatiyan insists on implementation of all the constitutional provisions and says “the right to use the mother tongue is an undisputable right of not only the Kurds but all the other Iranian ethnic groups.”
He said that Kurdish representatives in parliament have sent two letters to Iran’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance, asking that Kurdish children learn their ethnic language in school, besides the Persian language that they are currently taught.
Bayatiyan said he believed that Iraq’s prosperous and autonomous Kurdistan Region is an excellent gateway for Iranian investment and economy. “The Iranian Kurds have more right than anyone else to invest in Iraqi Kurdistan,” he said.
Bayatiyan was born in Bijar district in 1973. His father, the founder of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards in the district, was killed by Kurdish Peshmarga forces.
From 1999 to 2006, Bayatiyan was the general secretary of the Iranian Islamic Council.
So far, 35 nominees have announced their nominations for the Iranian presidency.