IranPolitik at Iran @ Saban

IranPolitik’s recent letter to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy regarding the 2013 Iranian presidential election was covered by senior fellow and resident Iran expert Suzanne Maloney. Here is an excerpt:

“Another Iran @ Saban post on the election, which described the ballot as a “free-wheeling reality show” where things can go “off-script” drew commentary from Farzan Sabet, a doctoral student in international history at the Graduate Institute Geneva. Sabet, together with Roozbeh Safshekan, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Alberata, co-founded and manages the terrific website,, which maintains a tightly knit group of social scientists who have collaborated on Iran-related research since 2009.

Sabet and his colleagues accept the premise that the Iranian presidential elections are not simply political theater. Extending the analogy, however, they ask: “(1) what is the script and (2) when is going off-script merely political drama and when is it politically consequential?” Sabet notes that “the script appears to be for [Saeed] Jalili to assume the presidency. As we pointed out late last week, the IRGC, which we view as the most powerful political actor in Iran,has subtly indicated that it favors Jalili for the presidency. However, such an outcome is not a foregone conclusion because the IRGC, and its larger coalition of hard-line Principalists including the supreme leader, may change their preference for a candidate based on a number of factors in the last days of the campaign. This is where going off script can matter.”

To read the rest of our letter or the Saban Center’s high quality research on Iran and the  Middle East visit their website.