US Foreign Policy

Analyzing the 2013 Iranian Presidential Election

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

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 Rich Robinson at [email protected] or 202-478-3419

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