Now this is a little different than what I normally post, but I think that it’s important none the less. In this post I will talk about the presidential election that took place in Iran last week. This was a very important election that pitted Hassan Rouhani against Ebrahim Raisi. Rouhani is a moderate and a reformist and ran for re-election after his last term ended. Raisi is a hard-line conservative who is backed by Ayatollah Khamenei. There are a few other candidates but they were not the main contenders.
Let us talk about Hassan Rouhani first.
He is a 69 year old cleric and a moderate. He won the election in 2013 by a landslide and is running for re-election. He negotiated the Iranian Nuclear Deal and has improved global relations with Iran and started to open up the country. He has been targeted by conservatives and hard-liners for his soft approach to the US and for his tolerance regarding Western Culture. He has also been criticized for saying that the Nuclear Deal would improve Iran’s economy, when it actually had virtually no effect.
Now for Ebrahim Raisi.
He is a 56 year old cleric who is a hard-line Conservative. It is believed that he is backed by the Ayatollah and has been part of his religious committee and is considered a successor for Khamenei. He has been exposed as one of the authorities who was responsible for the execution of 80,000 leftists in the 1980’s and has been condemned by human rights groups around the world.
There is one more person who I would like to mention, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
He is the mayor of Tehran and is a hard-line Conservative. In the 1980’s he was a Revolutionary Guard Commander and Police Chief. Qalibaf has also been condemned by human rights groups for suppressing protests and for beating demonstrators back in his Revolutionary Guard days. He is also responsible for a high-rise building collapsing and killing 20 fire fighters. He dropped out of the race and has endorsed Raisi.
The election took place on May 19th and Hassan Rouhani won with 57% of the vote, while Raisi got 38%. I am very exited about how Rouhani will continue to break down the isolation that Iran has been in since 1979, as I would love to visit some day.