Iranians vote in election, hardliners set to dominate

Published On: February 21, 2020 06:46 PM NPT By: Reuters

DUBAI, Feb 21: Iranians were voting on Friday in a parliamentary election likely to help hardline loyalists of the supreme leader tighten their grip on power as the country faces mounting U.S. pressure over its nuclear program and growing discontent at home.

With thousands of potential candidates disqualified in favor of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s allies, the vote is not expected to ease the country’s nuclear standoff with the United States or lead to a softer foreign policy.

The 290-member parliament’s power is limited, but gains by security hawks could weaken pragmatists and conservatives who back the ruling theocracy but support more engagement with the outside world.

More hardline seats in the Assembly may also help them in the 2021 contest for president, a job with wide day-to-day control of government. President Hassan Rouhani, from the pragmatist faction, won the last two elections on promises to open Iran to the outside world.

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