A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, February 29, 2016

Thoughts on the Iranian Elections

I don't claim great expertise on Iran, and I fully recognize the limitations of Iranian democracy, where the Council of Guardians can bar candidates from the ballot. I acknowledge the limitations of terms like "moderates" or "reformists" when applied to Iran. Nonetheless, the success of pragmatists and supporters of President Rouhani is a welcome sign. 

All 30 seats in Tehran went to pragmatists. Of potentially greater importance, centrists did well in the elections to the Assembly of Experts, which will choose the successor to Supreme Leader Khamenei. Among those defeated were the extreme conservative Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi and the Assembly's incumbent chairman, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, who defeated former President Hashemi-Rafsanjani for the leadership in the last round of elections. Rouhani and Rafsanjani were among the biggest winners for the Assembly this time around.

See also Juan Cole's take on the elections.

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