Iran’s Pivotal Presidential Election

IRAN (June 20, 2021)—Iran’s June 18 presidential election could mark the most important political transition in more than 30 years. The new president is likely to be in power when the next supreme leader is selected — and Ayatollah Khamenei’s ascension to supreme leader in 1989 while serving as president created an informal precedent. The list of seven approved candidates — out of almost 600 who registered to run, including 40 women — is heavily frontloaded with five hardliners, or “principlists,” loyal to rigid revolutionary ideals. The other two, a centrist and a reformist, are considered dark horses, but Iranian voters have been known to surprise even when presented with a limited slate.

A majority of Iranian voters were born after the 1979 revolution. One of the looming questions for this election is just how people many will vote — and what turnout will say about public support for the regime. The election intersects with critical negotiations between Iran and the world’s six major powers over the future of the JCPOA nuclear deal. Iran’s next president will set policy for years to come on foreign relations, including talks with the outside world on its nuclear and missile programs as well as on domestic affairs and the economy, which have been stifled by economic sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Iran, the unofficial preliminary results show that Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi has won the presidential election by obtaining required 50 percent mandates.    

Meanwhile, the other three presidential candidates have congratulated rival Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi on his victory in the election, although the Interior Ministry has yet to release the official results.

In their separate messages today, rival candidates Seyyed Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi, Nasser Hemmati, and Mohsen Rezaei conceded their defeat.

Nuclear Talks

Foreign ministers of Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey held a trilateral meeting in Antalya, Turkey today.

In the meeting, Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif, Afghanistan’s Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Turkey’s Mevlüt Çavusoglu emphasized active participation of their countries in the peace process in Afghanistan and the regional fight against terrorism.

They also agreed to cooperate with Afghanistan on transit through Iran’s transportation routes and also on expanding economic ties with Afghanistan.

Oil Market

“It looks like the current round of Iran nuclear talks will end later today in Vienna, and delegations will return to capitals for further onsultations (or, as Iran put it, making decision”.)

Source: US Institute of Peace and Radio Pakistan contributed to the article.

Photo: Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi speaks in Tehran on Saturday, May 15, 2021, after being registered to run in the upcoming presidential election. (Arash Khamooshi/The New York Times)

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