FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes

Although Iran’s citizens are hampered by a flawed political system in which elections continue to be neither fair nor free, they insist on pursuing a peaceful path towards greater political and social freedom. The turnout in the 2017 election was a powerful statement in itself, being 75% as compared to the 56% that turned out for the U.S. American elections in 2016. Their reward is that the incumbent, President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate reformist, has won a landslide victory by securing 57% of the vote.

If this extraordinary result is seen within a regional context, it becomes even more remarkable. In many of the other countries within the region there are no elections let alone peaceful reformist ones. Even in Saudi Arabia, President Trump’s first port of call there is a total lack of democracy.

First and foremost, the Iranian people remained consistent in their rejection of the candidate that seemed to have been favored by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Furthermore, Iranians have sent out a clear message to those who have tried to move them to boycott democratic resistance to government coercion. They have pushed aside and ignored exiled opposition groups and Washington hawks and neocon who demanded that the elections be boycotted. They also refused to go the other way and vote for the hardline candidate Ebrahim Raisi. A tactic that would have been designed to force a confrontation. Clearly, they prefer to remain true to their own political instincts.

Iranians have ignored external tensions and pressures caused by President Trump’s criticisms of the nuclear deal agreed by his predecessor. They have also put aside their disappointment and concerns with respect to lack of real sanction relief to continue supporting diplomatic initiatives, détente and cooperative negotiation. This they have done despite the fact that hardline elements in Iran’s own government have been campaigning for a more assertive approach to international relations. It is extremely rare these days for the politics of moderation to secure a major electoral victory, anywhere in the world.

The Iranian population, in alliance with the leaders of the Green Movement, has also chosen to give Rouhani a second chance to make good on his promise to improve the human rights situation in Iran. This election has given him a stronger platform on which to build. It has also taken away any excuses he may have had for not making good on the promises thus putting him under pressure to reward those who have put their faith in him.

The Iranian people expect Rouhani to resist hardline forces who still see arbitrary arrests and executions as legitimate means to control opposition, and take decisive steps to protect Iranians’ human rights and civil liberties. Moreover, they would like to see Iran improve international relations and thus improve potential economic growth.

Any failure on Rouhani’s part to fulfill these hopes will inevitably harm Iranians’ belief that the people’s will is being represented. They may conclude that democratically expressed wishes cannot make a real political difference and once again leave the future to the conservatives, who would so dearly love to return to a confrontational course that leaves Iran isolated once more.

In the meantime, the EU, through its Foreign Policy Head Federica Mogherini, has immediately congratulated Rouhani on his victory. In complete contrast to President Trump, who favors pushing Iran back into isolation, the EU has reiterated its commitment to making the nuclear deal work. The EU has been seeking a more inclusive security framework for the Middle East and will certainly continue to do so. Ensuring that the nuclear deal succeeds is a key element in that. The visit of Trump’s administration to Saudi Arabia, a major rival of Iran, puts the USA not only a collision course with Iran but also its Western allies on a major security issue

The Iranian people have spoken out for a policy of dialogue. They sense that if the Middle East is to have a peaceful future, it requires fewer hawks and weapons and more diplomacy. They would prefer to see the USA and Iran resolve their differences, for example, over Syria and Yemen at the negotiation table. The big question is whether President Trump will agree to embrace this historic opportunity.

Finally, the election draws the question of who will succeed Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Leader more forcibly into the spotlight. His landslide victory certainly has not done Rouhani’s chance any harm should he choose to run for that key post. The election has the potential to kick-start a major shift in Iranian politics.

More articles by:

Dr. Fariborz Saremi is an Iranian strategic analyst based in Hamburg/Germany.Dr.Saremi is a regular contributor for World Tribun.com,Freepressers.com and Defense & Foreign Affairs. At times he has been a commentator for the German TV, ARD/NDR.

December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
James McEnteer
Breathless
Ramzy Baroud
The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s new Jews?
Dean Baker
Pelosi Would Sabotage the Progressive Agenda With a Pay-Go Rule
Elliot Sperber
Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory 
Rivera Sun
The End of the NRA? Business Magazines Tell Activists: The Strategy is Working
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Historic Opportunity to Transform Trade
December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail