US Foreign Policy
Commentary

Analyzing the 2013 Iranian Presidential Election

in Program

The Stimson Center and the Heinrich Boll Foundation co-hosted a panel discussion which focused on the results of the 2013 presidential election in Iran.

Speakers included Dr. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, CEO of the Non-violent Initiative for Democracy and former deputy in the Iranian parliament; Cliff Kupchan, director for the Middle East at the Eurasia Group; Reinhard Baumgarten, head of the Istanbul and Tehran offices, German radio ARD; and Dr. Hosein Ghazian, analyst, International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Geneive Abdo, fellow at Stimson’s Middle East/Southwest Asia program, served as moderator.

The moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani’s victory has been met with cautious optimism in the West, but analysts are unsure whether this election will produce any substantive changes in Iranian policies, or whether this merely a cosmetic adjustment – a new face on the same regime. Asked Stimson’s Abdo, who moderated the discussion, “Is Iran tired of paying the price for isolationism, or is Rowhani the ideal personality to serve as president while Iran conducts business as usual?”

While none of the panelists predicted Rowhani’s election would result in a “new democratic Iran,” all believed the new president would be able to implement some degree of change.. Haghighatjoo, a former deputy in the Iranian parliament, insisted Rowhani’s ability to bring together political factions and work with different branches of government would “create national consensus.” Ghazian, an expert on the electoral process in Iran, noted how reformists unified behind Rowhani during the election, after Rowhani was endorsed by former President Mohammad Khatami.

Here’s a clip from the event:

 

To watch the full event, click here.

For more information, contact Lacie Rawlings at [email protected].

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