Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Iran elections: what changed and what it means
by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) Feb 29, 2016

Elections in Iran have led to a reshaping of political forces in the Islamic republic and benefited President Hassan Rouhani following a nuclear deal with world powers last summer.

In a ballot on Friday for parliament an alliance of pro-Rouhani reformists and moderates gained seats, conservative numbers were cut and hardliners who had opposed the nuclear agreement were all but wiped out.

Although the president's allies did not secure a majority in parliament, they made significant gains that are likely to make passing legislation much easier.

A simultaneous election was held for the Assembly of Experts, a powerful clerical body that appoints Iran's supreme leader, Iran's ultimate authority, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Why two elections at the same time?

Iran, an Islamic republic since a 1979 revolution toppled the pro-Western monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, has some institutions and many officials appointed by the supreme leader, but parliament and the Assembly of Experts are elected directly by the people.

All candidates are vetted by a constitutional watchdog, The Guardian Council, for their loyalty to the state.

Polling for the country's 290 MPs takes place every four years, while the 88 members of the Assembly are elected for eight years -- and this year the two elections coincided.

The Assembly of Experts generally has a low profile, but a long dormant task may be undertaken during its next term if the incumbent Khamenei, who is 76, dies. The assembly would pick his replacement.

Under Iran's system the supreme leader outranks the president and has the final word on major areas of domestic and international policy, setting the country's strategic direction.

What are the main political forces?

There are two major political movements in Iran: reformists and conservatives. The conservative bloc is not monolithic, however: it also has radicals (or ultra-conservatives) and moderates.

Moderates can find themselves aligned with reformists on some policy matters.

The agreement of July 2015 between the major powers and Iran over its nuclear programme was approved by reformists and moderate conservatives, for example.

Who won? Conservatives or reformists?

There is no clear cut victory for either of the two camps, as none on its own will have a parliamentary majority.

But the allies of reformists and supporters of Rouhani made significant gains and were able to offset the strong influence of conservatives.

Most ultra-conservatives have been sidelined and the government will, in addition to its own supporters, probably be able to rely on the votes of moderate conservatives on some future reforms.

In the last parliamentary elections in 2012, reformists largely boycotted the polls in protest at the disputed 2009 re-election of then president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the subsequent house arrest in Tehran since 2011 of reformist leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi.

The Assembly of Experts remains dominated by conservatives, but reformists and moderates have had symbolic victories. They partly achieved their main goal -- the voting out of two of the three strong conservative personalities in the assembly, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, its president, and Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, a figure long openly hostile to reformists.

Where does the supreme leader stand?

The supreme leader safeguards the unity of the nation and never officially takes part in partisan fights. But he remains Iran's strongman and his statements and influence are unquestionable.

Without his consent, the nuclear negotiations leading to the accord and the lifting of crippling international sanctions would not have been possible.

The decision was hailed by reformists.

But since the agreement, Khamenei has warned against the "arrogance" of the United States, dubbing it the key player behind risks of economic, political and cultural "infiltration" by foreign powers.

Khamenei's views on "infiltration" and the "arrogance" were widely used by many conservatives during election campaigning.


Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
Learn about missile defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Iran votes in vital elections after nuclear deal
Tehran (AFP) Feb 26, 2016
Iranians vote Friday in elections billed by the moderate president as vital to curbing conservative dominance in parliament and speeding up domestic reforms after a nuclear deal with world powers. A pro-government coalition called "The List of Hope" is representing President Hassan Rouhani's ambitions in the polls. Almost 55 million people are eligible to cast ballots that will ultimately el ... read more

China Interfering in THAAD Deployment Decision Process Preposterous

S. Korea dismisses China warning on US missile system

Russian expert says THAAD deployment in S. Korea to raise regional tension

US missile system in S. Korea would hurt Seoul-Beijing ties: envoy

Russia negotiating S-300 missile systems' supplies to Iran

Saudi says it intercepted Scud missile from Yemen

Saab, Indian firm in joint venture for missile programs

Saudi Patriot 'intercepts' Scud fired from Yemen capital

New sensor payload capability available for Global Hawk

US failing to explain deadly drone policy: report

NASA Global Hawk Flies Pacific Storm Mission

Drone serves as both aircraft and submarine

US Army Pacific exercise highlights joint communications for Pacific Theater

ViaSat tapped to provide tactical terminals for Apache helicopters

Harris wins place on military communications contract

General Dynamics MUOS-Manpack radio supports government testing of MUOS network

Rheinmetall upgrading Polish Army's Leopard 2 tanks

Milrem unveils unmanned ground vehicle at Singapore Airshow

BAE Systems announces upgrades to engineering vehicle

Court denies Lockheed Martin JLTV injunction request

Australia unveils 'massive' increase in defence spending

BAE Systems profit jumps; eyes defence spend recovery

US firearms industry marketing to children: report

US dominates arms trade as Asia, Mid-East boost imports

China to secure 'de facto' control of S. China Sea: US admiral

Ex-military chiefs say Britain is 'stronger' in EU

China's Pacific actions galvanize neighbors against it: Pentagon chief

China deploys fighter jets to contested island in S. China Sea

Physicists promise a copper revolution in nanophotonics

Stretchable nano-devices towards smart contact lenses

New ways to construct contactless magnetic gears

Scientists take nanoparticle snapshots

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.