News / Middle East

Little Real Choice for Iranians in Presidential Poll

Little Real Choice for Iranians in Presidential Polli
X
June 12, 2013 2:40 PM
Iranians go to the polls Friday for the first round of a presidential election that analysts say pits hardliners against only slightly less hardline candidates. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the experts believe that as a result, the outcome will make at most a difference in the tone of Iran’s policies, but not the substance.

Little Real Choice for Iranians in Presidential Poll

Al Pessin
Iranians go to the polls Friday for the first round of a presidential election that analysts say pits hardliners against only slightly less hardline candidates. The experts believe that as a result, the outcome will make at most a difference in the tone of Iran’s policies, but not the substance.

Iran’s presidential candidates have appeared in several debates. Controls on who can run have severely limited the scope of opinions on key issues, however, such as Iran’s nuclear program and its negotiations with the West.  

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili advocates continuing the ‘no compromise’ policy. Hassan Rowhani, a former negotiator, might try to take a slightly softer approach.

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
But neither candidate would really make much difference on the nuclear issue, said Mark Fitzpatrick at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“I think it really depends on what the views of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are. If he wants to make a breakthrough, then it almost doesn’t matter who the president is. But I don’t really expect much in the way of a breakthrough,” said Fitzpatrick.

Ayatollah Khamenei said he does not endorse any candidate. Those he might have opposed were barred from running, though, including all reformists and all women. That means Iranians won’t have a real choice in this election, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Iran Human Rights, Ahmed Shaheed.  

“The basic conditions for free and fair elections are not existent in Iran, and that is a serious concern. Under international law you cannot disqualify a candidate for elections unless you used criteria that were reasonable, objective and transparent,” said Shaheed.

Among those disqualified was the relatively liberal former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Experts say a key concern of ordinary Iranians is the economy, which has been devastated by international sanctions designed to get flexibility in the nuclear negotiations. But economist and oil market analyst Leo Drollas said some key segments of Iranian society may not be overly concerned.

“There are certain segments, of course, of the Iranian society, mainly associated with the Ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guards, and certain favored merchants, bazaaris, etcetera, who have done very well out of this situation. But the great majority of people are suffering, indeed, and nothing is likely to change,” said Drollas.

There had been hope that Iran’s election would lead to an easing of tensions and sanctions. Some analysts say the sanctions have hardened Iran's position, however, and they warn that continuing deadlock on the nuclear issue, as Iran builds its capabilities, could lead to a military confrontation.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid