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Rouhani disheartened by mass disqualification of aspiring 2016 Iran election candidates

January 19, 2016 in Analysis, Iran Election Watch, News

Mass disqualification Preliminary reports appear to indicate the there has been mass disqualification of aspiring candidates by the Council of Guardians ahead of the 2016 Iranian Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliamentary) and Assembly of Experts elections. According to Tasnim News Agency, only 4,720 out of a total of 12,123 aspiring candidates have been qualified to participate as candidates in these elections, a 38.9 percent qualification rate. That’s an average of 16 candidates competing for each seat in parliament. While an unprecedented number of aspirants registered to run in the elections, this would also be the lowest qualification rate of any election. Seyed Hossein Marashi, a member of the Reformist […]

Iran Election Watch 2016: High numbers register to run in parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections

December 27, 2015 in Analysis, Iran Election Watch, News

With the end of registration for aspiring candidates who want to participate in Iran’s upcoming 2016 parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections, Minister of Interior Abdol-Reza Rahmani-Fazli announced a high turnout. According to government figures 12123 people registered for parliamentary elections, over 100 percent more than in the previous 2012 election, while 801 individuals registered for Assembly of Experts elections, an increase of over 62 percent since the last election in 2008. Iran’s parliament, the Islamic Consultative Assembly or “Majlis”, is responsible for legislation. The Assembly of Experts, an 88-person body made up of Islamic jurists, is responsible for selecting the supreme leader, the most powerful position in […]

Iran Election Watch 2016: Larijani refuses to join conservative electoral alliance

December 22, 2015 in Analysis, Iran Election Watch, News

The Principalist Alliance Central Council (PACC) has been formed, with Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel as its spokesman, in the hopes of uniting Iran’s conservative current in the lead up to the 2016 parliamentary election. But Ali Larijani’s refusal to join could sustain or even strengthen conservative disunity in this election and beyond. As we have argued in the past, Iran’s conservative current, known as the principalists, have since their formation in the late-1990s been, generally speaking, composed of two majour sub-currents: The traditional and neo-principalists. By coming to a consensus on a range of issues – including supreme leader-centric politics and social conservatism – these sub-currents were able to […]

Iranian armed forces deputy chief joins cacophony against American “infiltration”

November 16, 2015 in Analysis, News

A recent speech by the Iranian armed forces deputy commander underlies President Hassan Rouhani’s relative isolation when it comes to the Islamic Republic’s campaign against American “infiltration”. At an event on Thursday 12 November 2015 commemorating the death of Hassan Tehrani-Moghaddam, a father of Iran’s missile program, a new and influential voice was added to the cacophony of voices raging against the threat of American “infiltration” of Iranian society, politics, and the economy. On the occasion Majour General Gholam-Ali Rashid added his weight as deputy chief of staff of the armed forces behind the campaign against what Iran’s supreme leader has labelled as U.S. efforts to infiltrate Iran. […]

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s conditional approval of the Iran nuclear deal

October 24, 2015 in Analysis, News, Nuclear File

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has conditionally approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more conventionally known as the Iran nuclear deal, for implementation. But the conditions he’s place on the implementation of the deal highlight his ambivalence about it, with serious potential long-term ramifications for Iran’s political future. Context The road to implementation of the JCPOA in Iran has not been a straightforward one. From the beginning, it was unclear when Iran’s supreme leader would give his formal public approval to the deal. Furthermore the precise route the deal would take through Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament), the two […]

Ayatollah Khamenei: “Negotiations with America are banned”

October 9, 2015 in Analysis, News

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has banned the Islamic Republic from negotiating with the United States. In September 2013, Ayatollah Khamenei gave his consent to nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States aimed at reaching a final accord, citing the precedence in the history of Shi’a Islam of showing “heroic flexibility” under the right circumstances. During a speech among Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-N) commanders, employees, and their families on 07 October 2015, however, Ayatollah Khamenei appeared to definitively close the door to negotiations with the United States on non-nuclear issues for the foreseeable future. Critically, his comments appeared to directly target President Hassan Rouhani, […]

Khamenei v Rouhani: Consensus gives way to discord after the Iran deal

September 20, 2015 in Analysis, News

Nuclear negotiations were one of the few areas of broad consensus among the political elite of the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the nuclear deal in hand, however, underlying tension between moderate and conservative currents in Iran has been increasingly coming to the fore. This tension has manifested in a number of ways, for example in the debate over the role of the Council of Guardians in vetting parliamentary election candidates. Another majour debate has been about the threat of Western, and especially American, penetration of the country and whether the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is uniquely empowered to confront such threats. The latter was a majour […]

Ayatollah Khamenei backs the Guardian Council in its dispute with Rouhani

September 11, 2015 in Analysis, Iran Election Watch, News

In a speech on Wednesday 09 September 2015, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed the the prospects of negotiations on other issues with the United States and also injected himself into a dispute between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and senior conservative politicians, potentially setting the tone of Iran’s foreign policy and domestic politics for the coming months. Relations with the United States Rapprochement and reconciliation between states is often a matter of putting the past in the rearview mirror and letting bygones be bygones. But Ayatollah Khamenei called on Iranian youth in his Wednesday address to remember crimes against Iran which he held the United States, directly […]

The IRGC’s Jafari warns of enemy-backed parties in the mold of new Iranian political organizations

September 4, 2015 in Analysis, Ayatollah's Praetorians, News, Resistance Economy

In a press conference on Tuesday 01 September 2015, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Majour-General Mohammad-Ali “Aziz” Jafari followed in the footsteps of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in warning against a multifaceted American attempt to penetrate Iran in the post-deal era. On Iran’s role in Syria He presented the IRGC as a bulwark against American and Israeli penetration in the region, especially in Syria. He emphasised that the Islamic Republic (especially the IRGC) was ready to help those countries that had made a request to the utmost of its ability, in addition to the “military advisory support” it is already providing, to counter the “proxy […]

Rouhani call for greater electoral plurality may presage rising post-deal domestic tensions

August 21, 2015 in Analysis, News

Hassan Rouhani has called for the Council of Guardians to take a supervisory rather than executive role in elections. But this may have more to do with the Iranian president’s fears of disqualification of his allies than a desire for greater electoral plurality. In a speech on Wednesday 19 August 2015, Hassan Rouhani called for a more cautious Iranian foreign policy and for the Council of Guardians (CoG) to take a more limited supervisory role in election. Rouhani’s opening salvo Speaking at a meeting of his Cabinet and provincial governors, the Iranian president discussed the nuclear negotiations and the post-deal course of the country’s foreign policy. Saying that […]