Iran at Crossroads: Reformist Pezeshkian Elected President

Iran at Crossroads: Reformist Pezeshkian Elected President

Reformist Massoud Pezeshkian, beating his conservative opponent Saeed Jalili, has been elected Iran’s new president. Dr. Pezeshkian won the poll after receiving more than 30 million votes. The run-off happened after no contender received a majority in the first round of voting on June 28, which had a historically low voter turnout of 40 per cent. This time, participation was over 50 per cent. 

Iran’s former president, Ebrahim Raisi, died in a helicopter crash in May, prompting the election. Dr Pezeshkian, a former heart surgeon, is critical of Iran’s famed morality police and sparked outrage by vowing “unity and cohesion” and an end to Iran’s “isolation” from the rest of the world. He has also urged for “constructive negotiations” with Western nations to renegotiate the stalled 2015 nuclear agreement, under which Iran promised to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of Western sanctions. 

His competitor, Saeed Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator, supports the status quo. He was popular among Iran’s religious communities.

In order to run, both candidates had to go through a vetting procedure overseen by the Guardian Council, a council of 12 clerics and jurists with great authority in Iran.

The Iranian constitution limits the President's powers to economics and domestic issues. The Supreme Leader executes strategic politics, such as foreign policy and internal affairs. Two leaders must find a common strategy that will work for both sides.