Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei warns of western influence in elections

25 Feb 2016 | By Gaurav

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned voters that the west was plotting to influence elections pitting candidates close to President Hassan Rouhani against conservative hardliners.

In remarks reflecting mistrust of Rouhani's rapprochement with the west, Khamenei said he was confident Iranians would vote in favor of keeping Iran's anti-western stance.

Rouhani denied accusations from hardliners that candidates close to him had western links.

In context: The 2016 Iranian parliamentary elections

Introduction What are the elections about?

Iran will go to polls on 26 February for a new parliament, and for the top clerical body that appoints the country's Supreme Leader.

The polls open at 08:00 and are due to close at 18:00, but they are usually extended for a few hours.

Results will be announced a few days later and a run-off may be held based on the outcome.

Parliament How influential is Iran's parliament?

There are 6,000 candidates for 290 seats in Iran's parliament. MPs divide into blocs, some supporting a moderate agenda, others taking a hardline stance.

MPs must approve all cabinet appointments and new legislations; hence, the relationship between the President and parliament is crucial for Iran.

President Rouhani needs backing from MPs to push through long-awaited economic reforms and to support his 2017 re-election bid.

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Assembly How important is Iran's Assembly of Experts?

The Assembly of Experts is Iran's top clerical body, and it chooses the country's most important official, the Supreme Leader.

It sits for an eight year term, so it will have a far longer influence on Iranian politics than parliament.

There are 161 candidates for 88 assembly seats and the divide between moderates and hardliners usually defines Iranian foreign policy decisions for coming years.

Moderate candidates disqualified for assembly

Many moderate candidates who stood for election to the Assembly of Experts have been disqualified by the Supreme Leader, including Hassan Khomeini, the well-connected grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founding father of the Islamic Republic.

Nuclear DealHas the nuclear deal caused a political divide?

Iran's economy has been crippled by international sanctions, and though they have been lifted, it needs significant reforms.

The nuclear deal deepened the divide between moderates seeking reform and conservatives led by the Supreme Leader who see the nuclear deal as an influx of western ideology.

For President Rouhani to be re-elected, he needs to implement economic reforms, which the Supreme Leader vehemently opposes.

The Supreme Leader trumps the President

The Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appoints the head of the judiciary, six of the members of the Guardian Council, the commanders of all the armed forces, Friday prayer leaders and the head of radio and TV. He also confirms the President's election.
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25 Feb 2016Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei warns of western influence in elections

28 Feb 2016Reformists make early gains in Iran polls

Moderates and reformists in Iran, including President Hassan Rouhani, are ahead of conservatives after crucial elections in Iran, according to early predictions.

Mr Rouhani and a former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani lead the race for the 88-member Assembly of Experts.

In parliament, reformists are on course to win almost all of Tehran's 30 seats, which would be a significant boost for President Rouhani.

29 Feb 2016Moderates win all seats in Tehran

Moderate candidates made sweeping gains in the Iranian elections, winning all 30 parliamentary seats in Tehran.

Moderates also won 15 out of 16 seats in Tehran for the Assembly of Experts, that elects the Supreme Leader of Iran, who has power over military appointments, religious laws and foreign policy.

The remaining results are expected to be made official in the next few days.

1 May 2016Moderates win big in Iran elections

Run-off elections have given moderates and reformists a working majority in the Iranian parliament for the first time in more than a decade.

Supporters of President Hassan Rouhani won 42% of the total seats, falling just short of an outright majority.

Independents took nearly 30% and many of them are said to be reform-minded, while hard-liners won a very small fraction of the votes.

2 May 2016Iran's Parliament: More women get elected than clerics

Iran's new parliament will have more women than clerics when its members are sworn in this month, a first in the Islamic republic.

Official results showed that reformist and moderate politicians allied with President Hassan Rouhani won a big victory in second round parliamentary elections.

A record 17 women will become lawmakers in the 290-seat parliament, one more than the number of clerics.