Elections in Iran: A win for the moderates

Pezeshkian. Wikipedia, Mohammadreza Abbasi

On Friday, the second round of the Iranian presidential election was held, in which Masoud Pezeshkian on behalf of the moderate reformist camp, and Saad Jalili on behalf of the conservative-radical camp, faced each other. The second round saw a drastic increase in voter turnout from the first round (from 40% to close to 50%), and at the end it became clear that Pezeshkian had won by a majority of 3 million votes. The victory of the moderate camp in Iranian politics is indicative of a change in the trend demanded by the Iranian people in the current form of the Islamic Republic, and a desire to avoid unnecessary clashes with Israel and the West.

These elections were held, as remembered, outside of order and quickly, because of the sudden death of the previous Iranian president, Ibrahim Raisi, in a helicopter crash over the mountains of northern Iran. Raisi was the leader of the conservative faction, and the defeat of his camp in the elections attests to popular discontent in the manner of his conduct – which led Iran to the brink of a clash with Israel and even mutual attacks during April.

The victory of Pezeshkian is not only for the Iranian moderates, but also for the non-Persian minorities in the country. Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old heart surgeon who previously served as Iran’s Minister of Health, is Iran’s first president of Azerbaijani-Kurdish-Turkish descent. The Persians constitute the dominant majority in the country, but the Turkish and Kurdish minorities number tens of millions of people, who have not yet received corresponding representation in the leadership.

Pezeshkian has already announced that he intends to direct Iran back to the nuclear agreement with the West, and to the path of diplomatic agreements and cooperation with all the countries of the world (except Israel). But it is important to remember that Pezeshkian is not the main decision-maker in the country, and that he is obligated to operate within the boundaries of the sector outlined by the Supreme Leader – Ali Khamenei, 85 years old. Khamenei is known for his zeal and animosity toward Israel, and the activities of the Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Force are not expected to be diminished in the near future. Iran will remain our great enemy – but from now on, a little less aggressive and a little less eager to acquire nuclear weapons.

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