Hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi won Iran’s presidential election on Saturday in a move that is expected to bolster the conservative legacy of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The decision is not expected to derail ongoing negotiations aimed at restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, even though Mr. Raisi himself is under US sanctions over accusations of human rights abuses. Many voters stayed away from the polls as the outcome had been predicted for months with many progressive candidates barred from running.
“The Islamic Republic has entered a post-revolutionary dynamic in which a fading revolutionary generation seeks to ensure that the rising political leadership sustains their revolutionary ideals,” says Norman T. Roule, former National Intelligence Manager for Iran at ODNI and Cipher Brief Expert. “The regime’s decision to bar so many candidates and the low turnout make this election a historic embarrassment for the regime and its supporters.”
The Cipher Brief talked with Roule about what the election means and what it doesn’t mean when it comes to relations with the west, the progressive movement within Iran and the election’s impact on the oil markets.
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