Iranian people call for reform as moderates gain parliamentary majority in stunning election results

Iran’s Interior Ministry has released the country’s election results, which show that moderates have won a majority in parliament. The results were broadcast Monday by state television.

Reformists, who favor increased social freedoms and engagement with the western world, won at least 85 seats. Moderate conservatives came in second, with 73 seats. Hard-liners, who opposed last year’s nuclear deal with world powers, won only 68 seats. Together, reformists and moderate conservatives have a majority in the 290-seat Iranian assembly.

Five seats will go to religious minorities, and the remaining 59 have yet to be filled. These will be decided in a runoff, which will likely be held this April. The election had a favorable turn out according to Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, who said it was 62%.

From the BBC:

This stunning election result will make a difference in Iran’s engagement with the wider world.

President Rouhani’s hand has been strengthened in parliament to help open his country to greater trade and investment. That will help him, and others in his reformist camp, to deepen the dialogue with the West, which began with negotiations on a landmark nuclear deal.

But much of this opening will continue to be with Europe, rather than the US. Iran’s relationship with America is still complex and controversial.

Iran’s ambitions in the region are also deeply rooted – it has strategic interests in countries like Syria, Iraq and Lebanon as well as Afghanistan, and a strong sense of its right to remain engaged. These are areas where Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards and its conservative Supreme leader hold sway.

But Iran wants to be regarded as an equal partner, able to sit at the world’s top tables to work on common threats like the so-called Islamic State. President Rouhani’s team may now feel empowered to engage a bit more, more often.

These elections were the first held in Iran since the finalization of the nuclear agreement, lifting international sanctions in exchange for Tehran restraining its nuclear ambitions.

Isadora Teich

Isadora Teich is a freelance writer and digital nomad who has worked in web marketing, digital branding, entertainment, and news. When not writing or traveling she is probably doing yoga, learning Spanish, or experimenting in the kitchen.

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