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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs