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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid