DATE : Tuesday 21 March 2017 - 08:33
NEWS ID : 2973
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Predicting the Unpredictable in Iranian Politics

Strategic Forecasting, the private publisher company also known as Stratfor, has recently published an article analyzing Iran’s political environment in the months remaining to the presidential election in May

Predicting the Unpredictable in Iranian Politics

Caspian International News Agency– It is only two months to Iran’s presidential election, and attention has been attracted to the current political environment in Iran. Many are doing their best to predict the result of the upcoming election as best as they can. Among these, Stratfor, an American private publishing company has offered its own analysis of the current situation and has tried to explain the chances and possibilities concerning the future election to its readers.

Despite calling Iranian politics unpredictable, Stratfor believes that the upcoming election will probably follow the traditional course of events for the presidents in the past. It states that all Iranian presidents have won a second term in the past, except for Mohammad­Ali Rajai who was assassinated in 1981 just four weeks after
assuming the presidency.

Discussing the achievements of Rouhani during his term, it says,” Since taking office in 2013, Rouhani has carefully led his country through a series of difficult economic reforms and the beginnings of a diplomatic re­engagement with the West. Though both efforts still have room to fail, Rouhani can point to real progress that has been made
under his watch. Iran’s oil production, for instance, has jumped from 2.8 million to 3.8 million barrels per day since W estern sanctions were lifted in January 2016.  And during Rouhani’s tenure, inflation has plummeted from 45 percent to 8.7 percent”.

The article also tries to explain the political factions in Iran, dividing them into Hard-Liner Conservatives, Traditional Conservatives, Pragmatic Conservatives, and Reformists.

The article also tries to speculate Rouhani’s possible Conservative rivals:

With such a powerful coalition behind him, Rouhani will not be easy to defeat. But on Feb. 23, Iran’s conservative Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces held its first national convention in hopes of doing just that. So far , the party has floated 21 potential nominees, including hard­line stalwarts Ghalibaf, Mohsen Rezaei, Saeed Jalili and Hamid Baghaei. But the most popular candidate by far was the highly respected Ebrahim Raisi, who has served as the custodian of Astan Quds Razavi — one of Iran’s wealthiest charities, responsible for managing several religious sites and organizations across the country — since March 2016.


Over the past year , Raisi’s public stature has risen substantially , leading to speculation that he may be groomed as Khamenei’s eventual replacement as supreme leader . Of course, Raisi isn’t the only one being considered for the job; judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani and his predecessor , Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, as well as Rouhani himself have all been identified as potential candidates in the press. But Larijani and Rouhani have become embroiled in scandals and disputes with each other over the past year. Raisi, meanwhile, has remained mostly neutral, rising above the partisanship that has bogged down his competitors. Having avoided alienating any of Iran’s biggest constituencies, Raisi has shown himself to be an obvious choice who may have the best chance of uniting the country’s conservatives.


If Raisi refuses to make a bid for the presidency , conservatives will have only one option left: Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, the brother of Iran’s judiciary chief. The Larijani clan is an influential force in Iranian politics, and as a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Ali Larijani still maintains deep ties to the military branch. Moreover , like his brother Sadeq and Raisi, Ali Larijani is extremely close to the supreme leader.
Though he does not have the support of Iran’s hardliner conservatives, Ali Larijani could bridge the divide between traditional conservatives and moderates better than Rouhani can. The problem is that Ali Larijani doesn’t appear to be interested in the position. In fact, he has been supportive of Rouhani’s rule and will likely continue to back him in the approaching election. Given Ali Larijani’s close relationship with Khamenei, this also suggests that the supreme leader is content with keeping Tehran’s current administration in place for now.


Contrary to what some may think, the IRGC might be satisfied with a second Rouhani win as well. Though the president and the IRGC’s leaders disagree on a number of issues — especially social and economic reforms — the recent election of a U.S. administration that is hawkish toward Iran has virtually destroyed any possibility that relations between Washington and Tehran will warm over the next few years.”





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