Iran’s presidential run off pits a hardliner against a reformist candidate.


Iran is a crucial presidential run-off on Friday, pitting a hardline conservative against a reformist candidate. The election follows an initial round on 28 June where no candidate secured a majority, against the backdrop of a historically low voter turnout of 40%.

Dr. Massoud Pezeshkian, a former heart surgeon critical of Iran’s morality police, faces off against Saeed Jalili, who advocates maintaining the status quo. The election was triggered by the tragic helicopter crash in May that claimed the life of Iran’s previous president, Ebrahim Raisi, alongside seven others.

Dr. Pezeshkian has campaigned on promises of national unity, advocating an end to Iran’s isolation and calling for constructive negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. This agreement, which aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, has been a contentious issue. In contrast, Mr. Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator known for his hardline stance against Western powers, opposes the nuclear deal’s restoration, citing Iran’s perceived red lines.

Both candidates underwent scrutiny by Iran’s Guardian Council, a powerful body comprising clerics and jurists that wields significant influence in the country. The vetting process excluded 74 other candidates, including several women, prompting criticism from human rights groups for limiting electoral diversity.

The election comes amid a backdrop of civil unrest and widespread disillusionment among young and middle-class Iranians, who have expressed deep mistrust of the establishment. The first-round turnout, the lowest since the 1979 Iranian revolution, underscores significant voter apathy that could impact the outcome of the run-off.

On social media, the hashtag “traitorous minority” has gained traction, urging Iranians to abstain from voting and labeling participants as traitors. However, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has dismissed the notion that low turnout reflects widespread rejection of the regime, attributing it to specific reasons that will be analyzed by political and sociological experts.

Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that the regime listens to the grievances of those who oppose it, signaling a rare acknowledgment of public dissatisfaction. Despite the calls for boycotts, Iranian media outlets have encouraged voter participation, framing the election as pivotal for the nation’s future.

Newspapers sazandegi have appealed to voters, stressing that the outcome will shape Iran’s trajectory, others like Hamshahri and Jaam-e Jam have highlighted the civic duty of voting and the nation’s anticipation of the people’s decision.

The run-off election is poised to determine Iran’s next president amid domestic challenges and international scrutiny. The outcome will not only impact Iran’s domestic policies but also its stance on crucial international issues, including its nuclear program and relations with Western powers.

the election represents a pivotal moment of decision-making amidst socio-political tensions and economic challenges exacerbated by sanctions and internal discontent. As the country prepares to announce preliminary results, the implications of this election extend far beyond its borders, shaping regional dynamics and global diplomacy.

Iran’s presidential run-off between a hardline conservative and a reformist candidate unfolds against a backdrop of voter apathy, dissent, and high-stakes geopolitical implications. The election’s outcome will resonate within Iran and beyond, influencing domestic policies and international relations at a critical juncture in the nation’s history.


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