On Election Day, Iran Chooses Between Gradual Reform And Conservative Return

On Election Day, Iran Chooses Between Gradual Reform And Conservative Return

On Election Day, Iran Chooses Between Gradual Reform And Conservative Return

The Islamic Republic of Iran goes to the polls today, to elect its 12th presidential election.

Although Twitter is officially banned in Iran, the candidates are using it, and also the messaging app, Telegram, which has over 20 million users in Iran.

The Guards hope that a win for Raisi will give them an opportunity to claw back economic and political power lost in Shi'ite Iran's complex theocratic and republican governing structure since 2015, when Iran struck a nuclear deal with world powers that brought it out of worldwide isolation. He called for a large turnout, saying "the country is in the hands of all people".

In addition, as nearly all the political oppositions had been wiped out since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, even if they have differences in their programs, the presidential candidates are all different branches of the same tree. Out of around 1,600 people who registered, only six were approved by the Guardian Council, a powerful judicial body which vets all candidates.Mr. Rouhani, a relatively moderate cleric close to reformists, oversaw the signing of the landmark Iran nuclear deal in 2015, which eased sanctions in return for efforts to curb the country's nuclear programme.

After casting his ballot, Rouhani said whomever the voters elect as president should receive all of the nation's support. Raisi has even been discussed as a possible successor, though Khamenei has stopped short of endorsing anyone.

For many in Iran, especially in affluent areas of the capital, Tehran, Rouhani has provided a glimpse of what many have long desired - engagement with the outside world, without the types of banking and visa restrictions, as well as economic sanctions - that left them feeling so isolated.

Smearing Rouhani as a corrupt and "pro-capitalist" elite also parallels 2005, when Ahmadinejad was able to successfully link corruption with economic mismanagement and popular disdain of ruling reformist-moderate politicians, particularly Rafsanjani.

In the last election, Rouhani won more than three times as many votes as his closest challenger. "And then if anything happens the other way, maybe we can say something".

Speaking on May 8, Rohani said voters did not want someone who in the four decades since Iran's 1979 revolution has only known how to "execute and jail", adding that the era of extremists is over. It would also mean that the West has a negotiating partner that wants to bring Iran back in from the diplomatic cold and become a responsible member of the worldwide community.

Should Raisi win, Iran is expected to retreat from the kind of nascent worldwide engagement seen during Rouhani's first term, with a focus on growing its economy internally rather than looking for direct foreign investment. Raisi allegedly served on a panel involved in sentencing the prisoners to death. Mr Raisi has said he will not seek to tear up the nuclear deal. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two, presumably Rouhani and Raisi, would face each other a second time in a run-off in a week. But if he loses the election by a wide margin, that path is less likely, as his backers would struggle to justify his ascension to absolute power when voters didn't even want him to be president. Raisi is also the custodian of the Imam Reza shrine in Mashad, the most visited and important holy site in Iran, and has strong base of support among rural, religious, poor and hardline clerics.

For voter Hassan Rahmani, 34, in northern Tehran, maintaining good relations is key to Iran's future. Iran's president is subordinate to the supreme leader but still powerful with considerable influence over both domestic policy and foreign affairs. "We want to say to all the world, we love our country and we want it to be free", said Daryafarghi.

Supporters of the two leading candidates honked, blared music and held pictures of the hopefuls out of vehicle windows on the traffic-clogged and heavily policed streets of Tehran late into the night Thursday, ignoring a ban on campaigning in the final 24 hours before the vote.

That would be Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's so-called Supreme Leader. "If you want peace, security, and freedom, vote for Rohani", a listener told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Recommended News

  • Microsoft faulted over ransomware while shifting blame to NSA

    Security patches would be available for clients with older machines, but only if they paid for custom support agreements. Even though Microsoft no longer provides updates for Windows XP, it is still widely used in Europe and Asia.

    Trump denies asking Comey to drop probe, decries 'witch hunt'

    He also told network anchors at the White House on Thursday that appointing a special counsel "hurts the country". Meanwhile, at home, other investigations into Russian Federation will move forward.

    Hillary Clinton Practiced How to Avoid a Hug From Donald Trump

    This is just more baseless finger pointing at Clinton and Obama by Trump, perhaps in order to again divert some media attention. Reines proceeds to wrap his arms around Clinton as she attempts to scamper away and laughter fills the room.
  • Colorado man to be freed early now in immigration custody

    A Colorado man who was mistakenly freed from prison, rearrested, then freed again is facing a new hurdle: immigration court. A Colorado man expected to be released from prison this week was turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
    Cueto, Grandal work out differences after benches cleared

    Cueto, Grandal work out differences after benches cleared

    He retired the first 10 Giants before giving up a soft single to Justin Ruggiano with one out in the fourth inning. Chicago went ahead to stay with five runs in the second against Scott Feldman (2-4), who was chased in the third.
    Julian Assange: The real questions now fall on Ecuador, says lawyer

    Julian Assange: The real questions now fall on Ecuador, says lawyer

    Juan Branco told The Associated Press in Paris that he wants Macron to help Assange leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. However, London police issued a statement after the Swedish announcement making clear Assange was still wanted by them.
  • West Ham rule out Reid and Carroll for Burnley clash

    West Ham rule out Reid and Carroll for Burnley clash

    Burnley have won just two of their last 14 league contests against West Ham (D3 L9), losing each of their last three. West Ham now have got nothing to play for, they used their cup final the other week against Tottenham.
    Deere profit jumps 62%, helped by improving demand

    Deere profit jumps 62%, helped by improving demand

    For the fiscal year 2017, Deere now expects equipment sales to increase by about 9% and third-quarter sales to rise by about 18%. Shares of Deere traded up 5.5% at $118.81 in the premarket Friday morning, a new 52-week high if it holds after the bell.

    Oil prices rise in expectation of Aramco supply cut to Asia

    A statement by Saudi energy minister on extension of oil cut agreement will be good news Nigeria, PREMIUM TIMES can report. Since a low point in May 2016, United States producers have added 387 oil rigs, or about 123 percent, Goldman Sachs said.
  • USA airstrike hits pro-regime forces in Syria — Military official

    Twenty-seven regime vehicles had driven within 18 miles of the base - violating of the 34 mile radius of the deconfliction zone. More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began following anti-government demonstrations in 2011.
    Deepika stuns the Cannes audience on her debut

    Deepika stuns the Cannes audience on her debut

    The 31-year-old actress let her long tresses loose, while opting for bold, dark lips and nails to compliment her attire. Accessorised with minimal jewellery and tie-up heels, Deepika wore her hair in a ponytail and looked uber-stylish.
    North Korea links nuclear advances to hostile U.S.  policy

    North Korea links nuclear advances to hostile U.S. policy

    Ambassador Cho Tae-yul (R) look on during a press encounter ahead of an emergency meeting of the U.N. Although he has sometimes criticized the THAAD deployment, Moon has not said he will remove it.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.