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With elections looming, Iran’s radicals are leaving nothing to chance.
 
10/20/2020
 

Iran Prepares for Hard-line Parliament

With elections looming, Iran’s radicals are leaving nothing to chance.

BY CALLUM WOOD

As Iran’s February 21 parliamentary elections draw near, its parliament looks set to become more extreme. The 2016 election has been called the "reformist" election because of the success of leaders who put themselves forward as moderates. Yet these "moderates" are being swept away before this year’s voting begins. The power grab is being orchestrated by the hard-line Guardian Council, the 12-man body charged with vetting all parliamentary candidates.

The council—picked by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—has been hard at work vetoing anyone who doesn’t fit its strict radical mold. So far, 90 of the parliament’s 290 members are barred from reelection. The purge has also extended to applicants in the field. Of the 16,000 who applied to run, 9,000 have been disqualified.

Vetoing is nothing new. In the 10 parliamentary elections since the 1979 revolution, the Guardian Council has vetoed 15 to 49 percent of candidates. However, this year looks set to be the most stringent purge of all. Coming off the heels of the assassination of Qassem Suleimani, the Guardian Council is weeding out any candidates it deems too soft to stand up to America.

The parliament is already extreme in its views. But the elections show the supreme leader is making it even more hard-line.

 
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