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Farhi: New Iranian Majlis Will Be Critical of Ahmadinejad on Domestic Issues

Council on Foreign Relations

Interviewee: Farideh Farhi, Adjunct Professor, University of Hawaii
Author: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

March 18, 2008

Farideh Farhi, an Iranian-born expert on Iranian politics, who contributes to blog on global affairs, says even though Iranian conservatives have won March parliamentary elections, the next Majlis will be quite critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s domestic policies. Specifically, they are concerned about his populist economic policies and erratic management style, she says. Conservatives do support his strong anti-American stance, however. Farhi suggests that strong U.S. rhetoric on Iran has allowed conservatives to consolidate power.

Iran has had its parliamentary [Majlis] elections. The results were a bit preordained since many of the so-called reformist candidates were barred from running in the elections. How did it come out?

It came out as expected in the sense that the conservative candidates essentially won, in part due to the number of candidates they were allowed to run. Alternatively, the reformists—given the fact that they were essentially barred from running in two-thirds of the seats—did as well as they could do in that context.

The reformists, however, did not win in every constituency where they were allowed to run. Of course the reformists argue much of that has to do with the fact that they could not run with their best candidates, because often they had been disqualified. Nevertheless, there was a degree of competition in many districts, especially since there was also competition among conservatives themselves. Furthermore, there were many candidates running that one could not identify in terms of their affiliation. Let us not forget that you had an election for about 290 seats and there were close to 4,500 candidates running.

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Copyright 2008 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on with specific permission from the Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to

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