Tag Archives: Jalili

Estimates for the upcoming 2013 Iran Presidential elections

11 Jun

Iranian politics is notoriously difficult to predict. This is especially true with regards to elections, which these days are increasingly managed by the regime, as we found out in 2009.

However, it is important to try and see where things are likely to go in the elections, based on one’s own perceptions, assumptions and reading of the regime.

If you get it right, then great. If you get it wrong, then afterwards at least you have a reference point to go back to to see where and how you went wrong. What assumptions you should have made but didn’t, who in the regime you should have listened to instead, and what clues you missed (among other things).

So here is how I believe (and assume) that things will turn out in the upcoming Iranian elections.

If a clear winner is determined in the first round, it is my estimate that Qalibaf has the biggest chance of winning. Reason? because between the conservatives when it comes to being a technocrat, he is seen as being the most competent. On top of that, and more importantly, he has good relations with Khamanei and parts of IRGC senior leadership.

If there is no clear winner in the first round and elections go into a second round,


Jalili is in the second round runoffs , he would win against any candidate. Reason? because Khamenei and the IRGC have decided that its more important for them to have a yes man. It would be difficult to convince the public that Jalili genuinely won  majority of votes in the 1st round (because he is unknown). So in order to shore up his legitimacy a second round is needed.

Or if:

– Qalibaf is in the run off and its not Jalili who he is running against, then Qalibaf would win. Reason? Khamenei and the IRGC believe that having a runoff is important to boost the legitimacy of the elections by making them look like a tight race. Letting Qalibaf win under such a scenario would enable them to strike two targets with one stone: giving them the already mentioned advantages of Qalibaf, plus more legitimacy for the elections process.

There is very little chance that Rowhani would win the elections (less than 10%). Reason? He views re: relations with West and need for compromise over the nuclear program to save Iran’s economy are out of line with that of the supreme leader and the IRGC.

The election’s dark horse: Mohsen Rezai. In my opinion, between all candidates, the one who could surprise us like Ahmadinejad did in 2005 elections is him. His combative style regarding the economy and its problems could have won him more support than we realize.

Now lets see where I have gotten it wrong, or right. Time will tell.

Tehran Mayor a Powerful Contender For Iran’s Presidency Read more

1 Jun

The powerful Revolutionary Guards Quds force commander has said that his vote will go to Tehran Mayor Qalibaf. This is just one example of his latest endorsements.
My latest article discusses why Qalibaf is a serious contender.

Panel Video:The Battle for the Presidency – #Iran 2013 presidential elections

26 May

Video of my recent panel participation at the Wilson Center discussing the upcoming elections in Iran, especially the disqualification of Rafsanjani and the challenges which the supreme leader faces. Thanks to Haleh Esfandiari for the invitation and her expert opinion and Barbara Slavin and Ali Vaez for their expertise and informed analysis.


Live Panel- Iran: The Battle for the Presidency

23 May

I will be taking part in this panel on the Iranian elections (via SKYPE from Israel) at 12:30 EST today (7:30 pm Israel time, 5:30 London time).

You can watch the event live below. Please feel free to join me.


Iran 2013 Presidential Elections – Forget Rafsanjani and Meshai, Think Jalili

12 May

Saeed Jalili – The black mark on his forehead is self made, by pressing the head hard on the stone of Karbala while praying. Its supposedly a sign of piety and devotion.

Forget Rafsanjani, forget Meshai. There is very little chance that either would be picked for the post of presidency.

At best they’ll be qualified to run for the elections by the Guardian Council. But beyond that, they don’t stand much of a chance. Both men have made far too many enemies with far too many powerful people such as Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards.

If you are a betting person, for now, I’d say here are the odds for the likeliest candidate to be selected for the post of president in Iran.

The results below are based on the criteria which I believe the supreme leader is most likely to use to pick the next president (in consultation with other bodies inside the regime. However Khamenei will have the last word)

Most likely – current chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili

Second most likely – former parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel

Third most likely – former foreign minister Velayati

Fourth most likely – current mayor  of Tehran Qalibaf

Iranian politics is very convoluted and fluid. Things change easily and quickly. So lets revise this list in a week and see what has changed.

Whats interesting is that hardly anyone noticed that the speaker of the Majles Ali Larijani decided not to run for elections – again.