Iran’s presidential election heads to runoff after inconclusive first round

Iran’s presidential election heads to runoff after inconclusive first round

Iran’s Presidential Election Heads to Runoff After Inconclusive First Round: An In-Depth Analysis

The Iranian presidential election of 2021 has proven to be a highly contested and unpredictable race, leading to an unprecedented runoff election between the top two candidates, Ebrahim Raisi and Hasan Rouhani. The initial round of voting on June 18, 2021, left the outcome uncertain due to several factors.

The Candidates and Their Campaigns

A total of six candidates contested the election, with Raisi and Rouhani emerging as the frontrunners. Raisi, a conservative cleric and former chief justice, campaigned on promises to address Iran’s economic woes and improve relations with neighboring countries. Rouhani, a pragmatist and incumbent, touted his record of opening up Iran’s economy and improving diplomatic relations with the world, particularly regarding the controversial nuclear deal.

The Voting Process and Controversies

Voting took place on June 18, with turnout reported to be around 48%. However, several controversies arose during the process. Reports of irregularities, including allegations of voter intimidation and ballot stuffing, surfaced in various regions, leading to concerns about the election’s legitimacy.

The Impact of External Factors

External factors also played a role in the election’s outcome. Tensions between Iran and its main adversary, the United States, continued to escalate, with US President Joe Biden maintaining a firm stance on Iran’s nuclear program. This, in turn, influenced the election discourse and voter preferences.

The Runoff Election: What’s at Stake?

With the first round of voting resulting in an inconclusive outcome, Iran is now set for a runoff election between Raisi and Rouhani. The stakes are high for both candidates, as this will likely determine the country’s direction in terms of economic policies, foreign relations, and potential negotiations with global powers.


In conclusion, Iran’s presidential election of 2021 has been a tightly contested race with numerous twists and turns. The runoff between Raisi and Rouhani promises to be a significant event that will shape Iran’s future course, both domestically and internationally. The outcome of this election will provide valuable insights into the political dynamics within Iran and its relations with the rest of the world.

Iran’s presidential election heads to runoff after inconclusive first round

I. Introduction

The Iranian presidential election process, a crucial aspect of Iran’s political landscape, is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 18, 2021. This election assumes significant importance given the current political climate and the various domestic and international challenges that Iran faces.

Brief overview of the Iranian presidential election process

The Iranian President, who serves as both the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is elected through a popular vote. The candidates are vetted by the Guardian Council, an unelected body responsible for ensuring compliance with Islamic and constitutional laws. Eligible voters cast their ballots in a secret ballot, and the candidate with the most votes becomes the president. The term length is five years, and a president can serve a maximum of two terms.

Importance of the 2021 presidential elections in the context of Iran’s political landscape

The 2021 Iranian presidential elections

are crucial for several reasons. First, they come at a time when Iran is grappling with

economic challenges

, including high unemployment rates, inflation, and the impact of US sanctions. Second, there are ongoing negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program, which could significantly influence Iran’s political landscape. Third, social and demographic changes are altering the political dynamics within the country. Lastly, domestic opposition groups, as well as external actors, may try to influence the elections in their favor.

In conclusion, the 2021 Iranian presidential elections

represent a pivotal moment in Iran’s political landscape. The outcome of the election will not only determine the country’s leadership but could also shape its domestic and foreign policies for years to come.

Iran’s presidential election heads to runoff after inconclusive first round

Overview of the First Round of Iran’s Presidential Elections

In the

first round

of Iran’s presidential elections held on

June 18, 2021

, four major contenders vied for the position, each with distinct political backgrounds and platforms.

Description of the electoral candidates

  • Ebrahim Raisi

    , a conservative cleric, served as the

former Chief Justice of the Iranian Judiciary

. His political stance aligns with the hardline faction in the country, emphasizing a strict adherence to Islamic law. Raisi’s platform focuses on domestic issues such as poverty alleviation and social welfare.

  • Abdolnaser Hemmati

    , an economist, boasts a pragmatic approach and is backed by the moderate faction. Hemmati’s political experience includes serving as the Central Bank Governor and acting as the Head of Iran’s Planning and Budget Organization. His campaign promises focus on improving the economy and easing social tensions.

  • Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi

    , a former military commander, represents the ultraconservative faction. His political stance is characterized by a strong emphasis on national security and adherence to Iran’s revolutionary principles.

  • Mohsen Mehralizadeh

    , a reformist politician and journalist, seeks to re-engage with the international community and promote domestic reforms. His political background includes serving as a member of parliament and being an active voice in the media.

  • Abdolreza Fatihi

    , an independent candidate, presents himself as a neutral figure and promises to address social issues and promote transparency in government.

  • Voter turnout and irregularities during the first round of elections


    record low voter turnout

    of around 48%, the elections were marked by numerous allegations of

    election fraud

    . These claims led to

    protests and demonstrations

    in several cities, with opposition groups denouncing the election results and voicing concerns over certain candidates’ eligibility. The irregularities reported included instances of ballot box stuffing, voter intimidation, and disenfranchisement. Despite these challenges, the Iranian authorities maintained that the elections were free and fair, further fueling tensions within the country.
    Iran’s presidential election heads to runoff after inconclusive first round

    I Impact of First Round Elections on the Runoff Elections

    Analysis of the first round results in relation to the political landscape of Iran

    The first round elections in Iran on June 18, 2021, yielded unexpected results with the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani not making it to the runoff. The conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi and the reformist Mostafa Mehralizadeh secured the first and third positions, respectively, while the moderate Abdolnaser Hemmati took the second place. This outcome signified a significant consolidation of conservative and ultraconservative voters behind Raisi, who is known for his close ties with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Conversely, Hashemi’s ultraconservative backing resulted in a sizable portion of votes from the same conservative base.

    On the other hand, the reformist and moderate constituencies were split between Mehralizadeh and Hemmati. This fragmentation of votes might hinder the mobilization of a unified opposition force against Raisi in the runoff elections, making it challenging for any significant change to emerge from the political landscape.

    Implications for Iran’s domestic and foreign policies

    The outcome of the first round elections could result in several implications for Iran’s domestic and foreign policies. With Raisi’s victory, there is a possibility of continuation or even intensification of Iran’s hardline stance on economic, social, and human rights issues. Given his association with the IRGC, there might be a greater emphasis on security concerns, which could negatively impact Iran’s already deteriorating economic situation and human rights conditions.

    Moreover, Raisi’s stance on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) remains unclear, adding uncertainty to Iran’s regional and international relations. The tensions between Iran and the United States have been escalating since the U.S.’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018, and any shift or continuity in Iran’s stance on this critical issue will significantly influence its diplomatic relations with the international community.

    Iran’s presidential election heads to runoff after inconclusive first round

    The Runoff Elections: A Closer Look at the Candidates and Their Campaigns

    Examination of Raisi’s campaign and his potential policies if elected

    • Economic plans: Raisi has promised to focus on revitalizing Iran’s economy. He supports increasing domestic production and reducing reliance on oil exports. However, his stance on the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with world powers, remains unclear.
    • Stance on the JCPOA: Raisi has been vague about his position on the JCPOSome believe he may try to renegotiate the deal, while others think he might abandon it altogether. This uncertainty could impact Iran’s relationship with other nations and its access to global markets.

    Analysis of Hemmati’s campaign and his potential policies if elected

    • Economic plans: Hemmati has emphasized unemployment and inflation as top priorities. He proposes reforms to attract foreign investment and streamline bureaucracy.
    • Social issues: Hemmati has expressed concerns about human rights. He has called for greater freedom of expression and press, which could be a departure from the current government’s more repressive policies.
    • Foreign policy: Hemmati has suggested a more conciliatory approach to regional and international powers. This could lead to improved relations with neighboring countries and potential economic benefits.

    Comparison of the two candidates’ political ideologies, their potential impact on Iran’s future, and the implications for various domestic and international stakeholders

    The election between Raisi and Hemmati represents a choice between continuity and change. Raisi’s stance on the JCPOA remains uncertain, which could lead to instability for Iran and its global partners. Hemmati’s focus on economic reforms and human rights could bring about positive change but may face opposition from conservative elements within the government.

    Domestic Stakeholders

    Domestic stakeholders, including various political factions and the population at large, will closely watch the election’s outcome. A Raisi victory could embolden hardliners, while a Hemmati win might signal a shift towards more progressive policies.

    International Stakeholders

    International stakeholders, such as the United States and European Union, will be closely monitoring the election’s results. A Raisi victory could lead to increased tensions between Iran and the international community, while a Hemmati win might provide an opportunity for improved relations.

    Iran’s presidential election heads to runoff after inconclusive first round


    Recap of the Key Findings from the Analysis of Iran’s Presidential Elections:

    The runoff between Ebrahim Raisi and Hassan Rouhani in the 12th presidential elections of Iran marked a significant shift in the political dynamics of the Islamic Republic. With a record-breaking turnout of over 73%, Raisi secured a convincing victory, defeating Rouhani who had been in office for the past eight years. The elections highlighted the deepening political polarization within Iran and the growing disillusionment among voters with the ruling establishment. Moreover, the runoff results underscored the increasing influence of hardliners in the political sphere and raised concerns about potential human rights violations and a rollback of progressive reforms.

    Discussion of Challenges and Opportunities for the New President:

    The new president, Ebrahim Raisi, faces significant challenges as he assumes office. These include reviving the faltering economy, addressing widespread unemployment and poverty, improving living conditions for Iranians, and managing international relations amid heightened tensions with the United States and other regional powers. However, there are also opportunities for Raisi to foster political stability and implement meaningful reforms, such as engaging in dialogue with domestic opposition groups and promoting economic growth through improved diplomacy with international actors.

    Implications for Iran’s Relations with Regional and International Actors:

    The outcome of the presidential elections could have far-reaching consequences for Iran’s relations with regional and international actors. The new president is expected to adopt a more assertive foreign policy, potentially leading to increased tensions with neighboring countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Iran’s growing influence in Iraq and Syria, as well as its expanding nuclear program, are other areas of concern for international community. It remains to be seen how Raisi will navigate these complex geopolitical dynamics and manage Iran’s relationships with key stakeholders.

    Recommendations for Further Research:

    There are several areas of research that warrant further exploration in the context of Iranian politics and presidential elections. These include a more detailed analysis of voter demographics and motivations, an examination of the role of media and civil society in shaping public opinion, and an investigation into the political strategies employed by key candidates. Additionally, future research should explore how the election results will impact Iran’s domestic policies, particularly in areas such as human rights and economic development.

    E. Final Thoughts:

    The Iranian presidential elections of 2021 have underscored the complex and evolving political landscape in the Islamic Republic. The election results represent a significant shift towards hardline policies, raising concerns about human rights violations and potential tensions with international actors. However, there are also opportunities for political stability and meaningful reforms. As Iran continues to navigate its geopolitical role in the Middle East and the broader international community, understanding the dynamics of its political system will be crucial for policymakers, scholars, and concerned citizens alike.