News / Middle East

Iranian Poll Looms Amid Conflict, Isolation

A combination of eight pictures shows the eight candidates approved for Iran's June 14 presidential election. (Clockwise from L) Mohammad Gharazi, Mohsen Rezaei, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Hasan Rowhani, Mohammad Reza Aref, Ali Akbar
A combination of eight pictures shows the eight candidates approved for Iran's June 14 presidential election. (Clockwise from L) Mohammad Gharazi, Mohsen Rezaei, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Hasan Rowhani, Mohammad Reza Aref, Ali Akbar
Henry Ridgwell
Iran holds elections Friday to decide on a successor for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Analysts say his replacement will take charge of a country that is increasingly isolated both in the region and internationally.

Syria's brutal civil war forms the regional backdrop for Iran's presidential election.

Analysts say the recent fall of the town of Qusair to Syrian government forces - aided by their Hezbollah allies from Lebanon - reveals Iran's hand in the conflict.

Hazhir Temourian, a Middle East analyst who lives in Britain, said Hezbollah forces are an Iranian proxy.

"The fact that there are apparently thousands of Hezbollah fighters fighting on the side of the Syrian government against the rebels, that means Iranian involvement. But on top of that there's been a huge amount of armament and money as well," Temourian said.

Iranian Poll Looms Amid Regional Conflict, Growing Isolationi
X
June 12, 2013 12:36 PM
Iran holds elections Friday to decide on a successor for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Analysts say his replacement will take charge of a country that is increasingly isolated both in the region and internationally. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

But Iranian support for Syria will remain whoever wins the next election, said analyst Shashank Joshi of the London-based Royal United Services Institute.

"Iran sees the struggle inside Syria as near existential," Joshi explained. "And they see the potential for Bashar al-Assad as representing only the first step on a broader attack against Iran."

Joshi said that in reality, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directs foreign policy.

"The most we can hope for is that a loyalist president, someone like Saeed Jalili, are maybe given more control of these issues if he's trusted in a way that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wasn't," Joshi said.

Iran's Presidential Election

-6 candidates remain in contention
-All were cleared by the Guardian Council
-Candidates must be Iranian citizens and of Iranian origin
-All Iranian citizens aged 18 and over can vote
-More than 50 million Iranians are eligible to vote
-There are 60,000 polling stations across Iran, 285 abroad
-If no candidate wins at least 50 percent plus one, a runoff between the top two finishers is held
Jalili - currently Iran's chief nuclear negotiator - said last month that the country is ready to resume talks over its nuclear program. The West believes Iran is trying to build atomic weapons - a charge Tehran denies - and has imposed severe economic sanctions.

The new Iranian president will inherit a country that is increasingly isolated, noted analyst Temourian.

"Apart from the Hezbollah who are very, very expensive to sustain, the Iranians have almost no friends in the world. Their friends are smugglers, people who make money out of buying surreptitiously their oil against international sanctions," he said.

The sanctions drove President Ahmadinejad to seek new allies in Africa. In April he visited uranium producer Niger - but came away without any big trade deals.

Iran has also forged bonds with leftist Latin American countries - and was the first to send condolences on the death of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in March.

Last month Iran's oil minister visited India to try to revive sales of crude, which last financial year plunged by over a quarter.

"The one hope for Iran in the longer term might be, if sanctions harden into a long term, crushing apparatus of containment, they might find sympathy amongst the non-aligned nations, including countries like India," Joshi said.

Analysts say that for now, the grip of Western sanctions - and the guiding hand of the Ayatollah - mean that Iran's new president will find little room to maneuver on the global stage.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs