Archive for June 5th, 2009

“Iran’s presidential elections not expected to change nuclear policy”

“Iran’s presidential elections not expected to change nuclear policy”
May 30-June 2, 2009
     In an overview of Iran’s upcoming presidential elections, Karim Sadjadpour describes Iran’s electoral process as “unfree, unfair, and unpredictable.” While President Ahmadinejad has the advantages of state media, support from key officials, and the tacit endorsement of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Sadjadpour suggests that opposition against Ahmadinejad may convince Iranians to vote for an alternative such as Mir-Hossein Mousavi. However, pointing out that no presidential incumbent has lost an election, Sadjadpour argues that an Ahmadinejad victory could be an “insurmountable” hurdle for Iran-US ties that would make US engagement efforts too politically difficult to sustain.
     Sadjadpour writes that while Khamenei has the final word on the nuclear issue and Iran-US relations, the election of a relatively moderate candidate would have a slight effect because Khamenei’s decisions are made by consensus (Carnegie Endowment). Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim point out that despite Khamenei’s tacit support for Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy, the three opposition candidates have been surprisingly vocal in their criticisms, although their positions on the nuclear issue, the US and Israel are described as being “in line with [Khamenei]” (Los Angeles Times). Iranian presidential advisor Mehdi Kalhor has stated that regardless of the winner of this election, decisions on the nuclear program and relations with the US will only be made by Khamenei (Reuters).
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | Los Angeles Times | Reuters