Home News 4 key points from Iran’s presidential runoff

4 key points from Iran’s presidential runoff


Reformist candidate Massoud Pezeshkian’s victory in Iran’s presidential runoff election marks a shift away from the government of conservative Shia Muslim cleric Ebrahim Raisi. May died in helicopter crash.

Pezeshkian, 69, is a heart surgeon who has served as a member of parliament and health minister in several reformist governments. Defeating a hard-line conservative candidate The government announced on Saturday that Saeed Jalili would contest Friday’s runoff election.

Here are the most important takeaways from this election.

The political choice in the runoff was stark enough to motivate Iranians who boycotted the first round, where turnout was about 40 percent, continuing a downward trend from recent parliamentary elections. Faced with candidates representing radically different visions of Iran’s future, many voters who had not voted in the first round decided to vote in the runoff.

When polls closed on Friday, turnout had risen by nearly 10 percentage points to 49.8%. According to official media reportsPezeshkian’s campaign slogan, “Save Iran,” seemed to resonate with those who wanted change, albeit gradual change in a constrained political and social environment.

The Iranian government has also launched a public campaign to motivate voters.

While Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei still holds ultimate control over Iran, the elections provide a veneer of legitimacy to the country’s authoritarian theocracy.

Pezeshkian’s victory marks the return of Iran’s relatively moderate reformist agenda after years of marginalization.

He opposed laws forcing women to wear headscarves, pledged to disband Iran’s morality police and lift restrictions on the internet. He said he wanted peaceful relations with the West.

Yet in trying to convince Iranians to vote for him, Pezeshkian, who served in parliament for 16 years and as health minister for four, has had to deal with voters’ frustration that Iran experienced little change under the previous two presidents, despite their promises of change.

Reformist Mohammad Khatami and moderate centrist Hassan Rouhani won a landslide victory in the election, but in the government they are constrained by Khamenei’s supreme power.

Pezeshkian said he hopes to bridge the divide between conservative and moderate voters and that he will be able to set the domestic policy agenda and influence the formation of foreign policy.

But the country remains a theocracy, led by an appointed cleric, Khamenei, who makes the final decisions on the most important state affairs.

Still, analysts say the president can change the tone at home. Pezeshkian is expected to move Iran away from hardline policies such as mandatory headscarves that have sparked widespread resentment. An uprising and Severe crackdown Lacey Government Authorities.

He is also expected to negotiate with the United States to resolve the nuclear standoff and try to lift related sanctions.

Pezeshkian’s campaign was backed by a team of experienced technocrats, and his cabinet is likely to reflect that. He has pledged to work with his rivals to solve some of Iran’s thornier problems, including Weak economy It has been subject to severe international sanctions for many years.

In 2018, former President Donald J. Trump Unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal Although international inspectors say Iran is complying with the terms, differences remain between Iran and Western countries.

One of his first priorities is to control inflation, which has caused sharp increases in the prices of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat.

But to revive the economy, Pezeshkian must work to reach a deal with the United States to lift sanctions on its oil revenues and banking transactions. Despite the U.S. efforts, Iran has not been isolated internationally and has developed close ties with Russia, China and India. But sanctions do hamper Iran’s economic growth and trade.

Pezeshkian sees foreign policy as an economic issue and has expressed a willingness to negotiate with Western powers, namely the United States, to lift sanctions on Iran. He has also expressed a willingness to resume nuclear talks, which are linked to sanctions, and to generally ease tensions.

“Whoever cuts off ties with the world will be hindered. Why should we fight the whole world?” Pezeshkian told Iranian media during the campaign.

That contrasts with his rival, Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator who opposed Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with international powers, arguing it offered too many concessions. During his presidential campaign, he also rejected any compromise with the West, instead seeking closer ties with Russia and China.

Experts say that under former President Raisi, Iran continued to develop its missile arsenal and its nuclear program, reaching a nuclear threshold where it could build a simple nuclear bomb in just a week. An increasingly powerful but unpredictable player in the Middle East crisis.

Iran funds, arms and trains a network of militant groups in the Middle East, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and armed groups in Iraq and Syria. Known in the region as the “Axis of Resistance,” the network has helped advance Iran’s strategic interests by extending influence and acting as a forward defense.

When it comes to Iran’s hostility toward Israel, this is a matter of national policy set at the highest levels, and the new president is unlikely to change that policy.

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