Victory of Moderates: A good sign for emerging Iran
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2016-03-02 06:09:20

Victory of Moderates: A good sign for emerging Iran

Iran

Moderates and reformists have dealt another blow to Iran’s hardliners, winning all but one of the seats for Tehran in the Assembly of Experts. President Hassan Rouhani and his allies won 15 out of the capital’s 16 seats on the clerical body, which may choose the country’s next supreme leader. Two leading hardline clerics, assembly chairman Mohammad Yazdi and Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, lost their seats. The only hardliner to make the cut in Friday’s polls was Ahmad Jannati.  The vote for the 88-member Assembly of Experts was held on the same day as the country’s parliamentary elections, in which moderates and reformists won all 30 of Tehran’s seats. Iran does not have organised political parties per se, however, members of parliament are divided into blocs: those supporting a moderate, reformist agenda on one side, and those who want to pursue a hardline stance on the other. Rouhani, who is halfway through his term as the country’s president, needed these elections to go favourably to ensure anti-western hardliners did not take up crucial parliamentary seats and therefore risk the future of the nuclear deal, and also to ensure he had enough support in parliament to push his economic reforms programme. The Assembly of Experts election was perhaps even more crucial to the long-term viability of Rouhani’s agenda. The current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is 76 years old and has suffered poor health, so it is possible that the next Assembly of Experts will have to choose his successor — and Rouhani and his allies would be hoping for the next Supreme Leader to not come from the ranks of ultraconservatives. Given these stakes, it would seem that Iranians have overwhelmingly displayed their confidence in the presidency of Rouhani as his reformist partners secured surprise gains in parliament in early results from elections that could accelerate the Islamic Republic’s emergence from years of isolation. In urban areas, the dominance of reformist candidates was emphatic, while in rural areas the hardliners came out on top. Nonetheless the loosening of the hardliners’ hold bodes well for Rouhani’s plans to open Iran for foreign trade and investment. Furthermore, in the Assembly of Experts, Rouhani and his ally former president Hashemi Rafsanjani lead the winners. Nonethless, regardless of the outcome, the Iranian political system is designed to ensure most of the political power remains in the hands of the conservative religious establishment. But it is important to remember that the last time reformists won elections (presidential in 1997 and parliamentary in 2000) Iranians experienced an easing of Islamic social restrictions, greater public voice in politics, freedom of expression and better ties with the international community. Iranians have spoken, and they want more of what Rouhani promises. An integrated Iran is better for the region as well. Pakistan, for one, can benefit greatly from increased cooperation, previously inhibited due to sanctions, in matters pertaining to security, trade and energy.

pk.shafaqna.com

Categories:   World ، Islamic News ،
Tags:   Iran ، Tehran ، Hassan Rouhani ، Ahmad Jannati ،
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