The Iran Project

Repercussions of Iranian radicals running the country

This photo by Fars news agency shows former mayor of Tehran Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf showing his ID papers after filing nomination for upcoming parliamentary elections in downtown Tehran on December 7, 2019.

Al-Monitor | : The hard-liners’ victory in Iran’s parliamentary election Feb. 21 seemed clearly predictable, but this did not stop them from celebrating and bragging about how they delivered a big blow to the Reformists.

Perhaps they still felt the sting of previous elections. In 2013, after Reformist-backed Hassan Rouhani’s presidential victory, the Reformists and moderates set their sights on also taking over the parliament in 2016 — and they succeeded. They won all 30 seats in Tehran province, which was a major disappointment to hard-liners and conservatives, who were striving to obstruct Rouhani’s attempt to ink a nuclear deal with world powers.

The 2016 parliamentary race inspired a respectable 62% turnout to pave the way for Rouhani and the Reformists to bring about fundamental change in the country. But neither the Reformists nor Rouhani fulfilled the public’s expectations, angering people as they witnessed how their elected officials caved in and gave up on their promises.

Rouhani and the Reformists sought to carry out change, especially in the area of Iran-US ties, but their efforts were blocked by radicals in Tehran to a large extent. And then, following his election as the US president in 2016, Donald Trump quickly delivered a death blow to the reform current and much of Rouhani’s influence.

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