Iran holds presidential elections in June in an atmosphere of continuing tension with outside powers, a slowly recovering economy, and deep domestic discontent and cynicism. This rolling series examines the likely candidates and the issues that may impact the race, including the fate of Iran’s battered reformist movement and the rise of military-backed contenders.
Our blog pieces
IranElections2021 Jun 15, 2021
The JCPOA but not much else: Modest expectations for US-Iran relations post Rouhani
By Barbara Slavin
For the US and Iran, an Ebrahim Raisi presidency could portend not much beyond a return to a 2015 nuclear agreement that traded limited sanctions relief for time-bound curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities.
IranElections2021 Jun 14, 2021
Hemmati: The dark horse of the Iranian presidential election?
By Ali Dadpay
One wonders if the former Central Bank of Iran governor Abdolnaser Hemmati, a moderate, stands a chance. His performance in the debates and his wife’s appearance in an interview have certainly garnered attention.
IranSource Jun 1, 2021
A Raisi presidential win may be his undoing as future Supreme Leader
Conventional wisdom is that the election will facilitate Ebrahim Raisi’s ascent to the real decision-making post in Iran—that of Supreme Leader. But nothing is ever certain in Iran’s contentious politics.
IranElections2021 May 28, 2021
Khamenei is dropping Iran’s democratic façade
By Borzou Daragahi
The Supreme Leader for years has been agitating to find what he describes as a new generation of young and pious “revolutionaries” to take the helm of the country’s institutions. That aim may be taking priority.
IranSource May 21, 2021
‘Elections without Mohsen Rezaei are like kebabs without onions’
By Saeid Jafari
A perpetual candidate, a man who never leaves the scene, an election-addict, and a resilient politician: these are among the kinder ways in which Iranians describe Mohsen Rezaei.
IranSource May 7, 2021
Iran’s presidential elections don’t matter. Here’s why.
By Shahin Milani
While the final list of candidates will not be announced by the Guardian Council before May 26, it can be said with certainty that whoever emerges victorious will not have a material impact on Iran’s domestic or foreign policy.
IranSource May 6, 2021
Supreme Leader directly intervenes in Iran’s June vote
Khamenei’s interventions might have helped the hardliners camp eliminate its strongest competition but he definitely has not been able to resolve the big differences and gaps inside his own camp to bring its top figures into agreement on a single candidate.
IranElections2021 Apr 14, 2021
Iran’s botched handling of the coronavirus may impact June election
By Masoud Mostajabi
Given the economic uncertainty, unrest in the upcoming election season is possible. An excessive vaccination fee, rumors of nepotism as the vaccination programs roll out, black market distribution of vaccines, or distribution of fake vaccines could ignite a wildfire—especially under current circumstances.
IranElections2021 Apr 12, 2021
Iran’s June elections could consolidate hardline power before Khamenei succession
For hardliners in Iran, the June 18 presidential election is less about choosing a new executive branch chief than about consolidating power centers before the time comes to choose Iran’s real ruler: the next Supreme Leader.
IranElections2021 Apr 2, 2021
Social media helps and hurts Iranian elections. Here’s how.
By Amir Rashidi
The internet has always been one of the most challenging issues for the Iranian government, especially during elections. Over the past three years alone, Iran has tried to meet this challenge on numerous occasions by shutting down the internet during nationwide protests or blocking popular apps and websites.
IranElections2021 Mar 29, 2021
Why would anyone—including Mohammad Javad Zarif—want to be Iran’s president?
By John Limbert
Zarif might seem highly qualified to be president of Iran. However, it remains uncertain whether he has the temperament, the talent, and the stomach for the bear pit of electoral politics.
IranElections2021 Mar 16, 2021
Larijani has credentials but not charisma as Iran’s presidential candidate
By Barbara Slavin
Ali Larijani is a veteran official in the Islamic Republic whose long service in a variety of key posts would make him a plausible—if not especially charismatic—candidate in Iran’s upcoming June 18 presidential elections.
IranElections2021 Mar 5, 2021
Multiple elections could boost hardline victories in Iran
There are no definite candidates yet in the reformist-moderate camp for obvious reasons—they are likely to lose. Unless there is a drastic change in the political or economic atmosphere that can guarantee a bigger turnout, the candidates of this camp do not have any chance of winning.
IranElections2021 Mar 1, 2021
Saeed Mohammad: The young face of the IRGC weighing his political options
By Sina Azodi
Even if Saeed Mohammad does not run in the June elections, he will still remain an influential figure and a rising star within the IRGC cadre, who is likely to play a larger role within the Islamic Republic’s political establishment.
IranElections2021 Jan 25, 2021
Iran’s hardliners think Biden might hurt their June presidential election strategy
By Saeid Jafari
Hardliners had hoped that Donald Trump’s re-election would help them to oust the reformist and moderate candidates in June’s presidential election. Now hardliners are concerned that the new US administration will destroy their plans.
IranElections2021 Oct 7, 2020
Hossein Dehghan and other military vets vie for Iran’s presidency
By Sina Azodi
Given the extraordinary circumstances that Iran is currently facing, it appears that the establishment is pondering elevating a former high-level military officer to head the executive branch.
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