Hardliners expected to strengthen position in Iran’s parliamentary elections

Anti-West hardliners are expected to make formidable gains in today’s Iranian parliamentary election. This will likely signify the end of

iran legislative elections

Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty

Anti-West hardliners are expected to make formidable gains in today’s Iranian parliamentary election.

This will likely signify the end of Iran’s reformist parliamentary majority, which supports current President Hassan Rouhani.

Rampant inflation—brought on by crippling US sanctions—and Washington’s assassination of General Qasem Soleimani have put Rouhani’s moderate stance regarding the West under strain. Consequently, many Iranians have adopted the strictly confrontational approach of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, whose influence over the Guardian Council has led to a record-high number of disqualifications of reformist candidates this year.

While a hardliner victory is almost guaranteed, the greatest uncertainty lies in the perceived legitimacy of the election. Despite Khamenei’s widespread call to vote as a “religious duty,” mass disqualifications of popular candidates and dissatisfaction with both political options threaten to depress voter turnout to dangerously low levels. The US has already criticised the legitimacy of the election, and other accusations are likely to follow. Expect the new parliament to exert greater pressure on Rouhani to not cooperate with the West, especially the US. This will likely entail the continuation of Iranian uranium enrichment and further targeting of Saudi oil and US military assets in the Persian Gulf.

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