The Voice of Russia: 2013 Presidential elections in Iran

Speculating the outcome of the elections in Iran is a tricky game. Nevertheless, I dared to say a few words about it to the Voice of Russia this morning. Here is a recording of that interview.

For the original recording see the VOR webpage here.

Here are a few snippets of my talk:

Historically, presidential elections in Iran have proven to be highly unpredictable and surprising to people both within Iran and the analysts overseas.

Saeed Jalili ... a continuation of the status quo.

Saeed Jalili runs on a platform of resistance to the West. He is perceived to be highly ideological. And that is also the reason why he is preferred by the Supreme Leader.

In his [Jalili's] view international sanctions imposed on Iran make Iran reorient its economy.

In the West we would certainly want to see someone else win the elections, perhaps Hassan Rowhani who used to be the nuclear negotiator of Iran between 2003 and 2005. And should he win the elections, we expect that there would be some sort of a shift in respect to the tone with which the negotiations are held.

…security issues, the foreign policy, nuclear negotiations – these things are the domain of the Supreme Leader. The president is obviously very visible. ... But we have to remember that the president’s position when it comes to nuclear negotiations is limited.
The two still remain – Ali Akbar Velayati and the Mayor of Tehran Qalibaf. And actually, there is a question now – is any of them actually going to drop down. Both Qalibaf and Velayati are strong contenders.

The atmosphere in Iran can really shift very dramatically very quickly. But so far, I would say that this election is definitely not going to face the kind of situation we saw in 2009. The green revolution is all but dead.

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