News / Middle East

    Rouhani, Allies Win Majorities in Iranian Elections

    FILE - Chairman of the Iran's Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi speaks during their biannual meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 1, 2015. Yazdi, a leading conservative on the panel, was not re-elected last week.
    FILE - Chairman of the Iran's Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi speaks during their biannual meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 1, 2015. Yazdi, a leading conservative on the panel, was not re-elected last week.
    VOA News

    Iranian hard-liners have been dealt an electoral setback, with moderates winning a majority in the country's top clerical body, the Assembly of Experts, and parliament.

    Two leading conservatives, Ayatollahs Mohammad Yazdi and Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, were defeated in their bid for re-election to the important 88-member Assembly. 

    The body will pick the country's next supreme leader, to succeed the 76-year-old incumbent, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's leader since 1989

    State television reported Monday that moderate President Hassan Rouhani and his allies won 15 out of Tehran's 16 seats in the election for the Assembly, where members serve eight-year terms. Overall, the moderates will hold a 59 percent majority.

    The Iranian Interior Ministry said that reformers, who favor social freedoms and engagement with the West, won at least 85 seats in parliament, while moderate conservatives, who also favor Iran's nuclear agreement with six world powers, won 73, giving the two groups a majority in the 290-seat parliament.

    INFOGRAPHIC: This Is How Iran Is Ruled (click here)

    Interior Minister Abdel Reda Rahmani Fazli says 62 percent of Iranians across the country and 50 percent in the capital, Tehran, participated.  He added that candidates would have several days to appeal the election results.

    Hardliners, who opposed the deal halting Iran's development of nuclear weaponry in exchange for lifting sanctions that had hobbled the country's economy, won 68 seats in parliament, down from the more than 100 in the current parliament.

    Rouhani said Friday's election has given the government more credibility and clout.

    "The competition is over. It's time to open a new chapter in Iran's economic development based on domestic abilities and international opportunities," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

    FILE - President Hassan Rouhani waves to media after casting his vote in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016. The moderate leader and his allies won 15 out of Tehran's 16 seats in the election for the Assembly of Experts.
    FILE - President Hassan Rouhani waves to media after casting his vote in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016. The moderate leader and his allies won 15 out of Tehran's 16 seats in the election for the Assembly of Experts.

    Rouhani made last year's nuclear agreement with a group of six world powers, including the United States, a key objective of his administration and the electoral outcome could be interpreted as support for his policies.

    Khamenei called on those elected to act in the interests of Iran and stand against the influence of other countries.

    The state-run IRNA news agency quoted the leader saying development is the country's top goal.

    "Nominal development without independence or national dignity is not accepted," Khamenei said.

    Former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani Sadr tells VOA the election was a clear victory for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, despite reports that “moderates” won more seats.

    Former Iranian diplomat Mehrdad Khonsari argues the outcome of the election was at the very least an opportunity for the Iranian public to express its dissatisfaction with the hardliners.

    "There is a feel-good factor for the population in the sense that the general outcome is one that satisfies public opinion because it sees stark improvement in the situation of moderates and because it gave the public an opportunity to express dissatisfaction with the hardliners, even though they are aware that in actual policy terms that might not make a difference," said Khonsari.

    Iranian-born analyst Alex Vatanka tells VOA many Iranians decided to vote after being persuaded it would be foolish not to do so.

    “There was more enthusiasm than many had actually anticipated only a few weeks ago, and that goes to the fact that [former president] Mohamed Khatami and others really put in a lot of effort to bring out the vote with a very simple message, which is, "'We know these elections are not free and fair, but even within the limited confines of this election, voting for moderates who are allowed to run will prevent the hardliners from getting a total grip on the system,'" said Vatanka.

    Former deputy U.S. State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli, told VOA that despite the electoral changes in Iran, "I don't think that we're going to see a huge change in Iranian behavior, either internally or externally.  It's like saying the far-right wing of the party didn't win, but that still means that the center of the party, which is very, very conservative, is in power."

    Edward Yeranian contributed to this report from Cairo.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    February 29, 2016 7:44 AM
    Khamenei’s comment tends to give-away the exercise as “arranged”. He sounded like he knew that the so-called moderates/reformists’d takeover aspects of the Islamic kingdom’s politics. But go by whatever name, I don’t see what’s moderate/reformist in an Iranian. Rouhani, a so-called moderate/reformist, was there when the country’s human rights deteriorated, with strengthened fatwas against individuals who expressed their opinions and associations.

    Go by whatever name, these politicians have at the back of their minds the upholding of the fundamentals of the Islamic republic – the conservatism expressed in the preservation of the tenets of 12th century Islamic laws that make no room for rights of individuals, women and children. Add to that, that the Ayatollah Khamenei’s know-it could only be that the Iranian polls aims to further deceive the world into believing that Iran is willing to comply with demands of nuclear-nonproliferation while it builds one in secret.

    We don’t yet understand what human rights in Iran may mean until we stop seeing women in moving sacks, and their rights with children enhanced. Then we can say that Rouhani’s party’s truly moderate and reformist, and expect victory to bring change to Iran. Otherwise, it maybe case of the-more-you-look-the-less-you-see. Until final results!
    In Response

    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    February 29, 2016 9:26 PM
    At least there is election on regular basis in Iran. But there is no election in Saudi Arab, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE. You did not mention any thing.
    I have seen church in Iran with full security but there is church in Saudi Arab. No body is allowed to open church in Saudi Arab. But even then USA is in favor of Saudi Arab but very much against Iran. Who is not willing to take dictation like Saudi Arab.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    February 29, 2016 3:58 PM
    What you described is Saudi Arabia not Iran.

    What you described is about Arabs and the Turks, not Iranians.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora