Socialist Worker

Elections reveal anger and divisions in Iran

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2493

Irans capital Tehran last month

Iran's capital Tehran last month (Pic: Inns)

Early election results from Iran have indicated large gains for the List of Hope, the “reformist” wing of the Islamic Republican regime’s ruling class.

Votes were still being counted as Socialist Worker went to press. Iranians have been voting for members of Iran’s parliament and the Assembly of Experts.

This body picks the Supreme Leader, who is legally more powerful than the president.

In Tehran province, the country’s most populous, the List of Hope was set to take all 30 parliamentary seats. It has also won 15 of the province’s 16 seats for the Assembly of Experts.

These are the first elections since president Hassan Rouhani signed a deal over Iran’s nuclear programme with the US last July.

The election shows up divisions within Iran’s ruling class.

The regime is increasingly locked into a regional clash with Saudi Arabia—against the backdrop of fighting in Syria.

The lifting of sanctions after the deal eased some pressure on the ruling class.

But it hasn’t improved ordinary Iranians’ lives or overcome years of stagnation.

Rouhani and his allies want to pursue limited reforms, such as opening up the economy, to overcome these problems.

Others are worried it could open the door to more opposition and threaten the regime’s stability.

Elections are an opportunity for ordinary Iranians to show their anger. This is what’s driving the “reformists’” gains.

But this mood must translate into independent mobilisations from below if ordinary Iranians are to benefit.

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