Khamenei Praises Iran Vote, Urges Focus on National Interests


While moderates like Mr Rouhani and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani want more supervision, conservatives like the head of the judicial system, Sadeq Ardeshir Amoli Larijani, are against giving such powers to the assembly.

Hard-liners, who had opposed the deal, won just 68 seats, down from more than 100 in the current parliament.
The results from Iran’s parliamentary elections haven’t been released yet, but some triumphant language has accompanied the anticipated tallies, which indicate a surge for Iranian moderates.
“We trusted hard-liners but the result was not positive”, said Tehran resident Azadeh Yusefi.
The new composition of the clerical body has been considered especially important.
“But mistakes by the conservatives who supported radicals during the campaign were also to blame”, he said.
With regard to the elections for the 88-member Assembly of Experts, prominent hardliners received an embarrassing setback.
The intelligence minister said on Sunday that two terrorist plots had been foiled before the election. He said turnout was 62 percent and there had been very few irregularities. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who holds similar views, has repeatedly emphasized the need to protect the country from Western influence, and continues to classify the United States as the principal enemy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. All three retained their seats in the Assembly of Experts in the election. Two top clerics, M. Yazdi and M.T. Mesbah-Yazdi, were completely rejected by the voters, while Guardian Council Chairman Ahmad Jannati barely squeaked through, coming in last place.
According to the final results announced by Iranian officials, the Assembly of Experts will comprise 64 conservative and 24 moderate-reformist members.
“Our manufacturers must be world-class, and we will cooperate with foreign companies so our manufacturers have a presence in world markets”, Rouhani added.
The outgoing parliament had acted as a brake on Rouhani’s plans to strengthen the private sector, tackle corruption and welcome foreign investors.
Moreover, before the February 26, 2016 vote, almost 80% of the candidates who applied for the Assembly were disqualified by the Guardian Council (including every female), while the rejection rate for Parliamentary candidates reached almost 90%.
One of the most interesting politicians to emerge from the election is Mohammad Reza Aref, who received the most votes of any parliamentary candidate for Tehran.
With a greater majority in parliament, Rouhani will have an easier time pushing policies of economic reform and luring more investment from the West in the lead-up to presidential elections in 2017.
Iranian media is banned from mentioning Khatami’s name or publishing his pictures.
Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Kayhan, a newspaper closely associated with Khamenei, accused reformists of trying to create what he called an “illusion of a victory”. It appears that there is an unwritten agreement across Iran’s political spectrum regarding Tehran’s regional policies. “People’s vote is limited to the responsibility they have been given in the constitution”, Shariatmadari wrote. The result is a wave of new faces in Iranian politics; only about a third of the winners are incumbents in parliament. More than a dozen women won seats. Pro-reform factions claimed that their allies accounted for the bulk of those blackballed from the ballots.
Mr Rouhani said on Saturday that the election was an endorsement of his efforts to end Iran’s global isolation. The reformists are hoping the independents will align with them, although that is evidently hard to predict at this point, with so little known about numerous new lawmakers.
Run-offs will take place in April in 59 districts where no candidate won more than 25% of the vote.