Hardliners are set to toughen Iran’s control this week in a parliamentary election stacked in their favor, as the management closes ranks in a deepening dispute with Washington.Significant gains by security radicals would confirm the political decease of the nation’s pragmatist politicians, bottomed by Washington’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear agreement and reimpose sentences in a step that choked rapprochement with the West.
More hardliner seats in the February 21 vote might also give them another prize — more leeway to campaign for the 2021 presidential election, a job with the wide day-to-day management of government.
Such extensive command of the power apparatus would begin a generation in which the elite Revolutionary Guards, already ubiquitous in the life of the country, hold ever-greater sway in political, social, and economic affairs.
Aides of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have guaranteed hardliners control the field, eradicating moderates and leading conservatives and permitting voters a choice between hardline and low-key conservative nominees loyal to him.
Like hardliners, conservatives support the ruling theocracy; however, unlike them support more engagement with the outside world.
Faced with little choice, many citizens are more likely to be focused on bread-and-butter problems, in an economy jeopardized by U.S. Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran.
With Iran facing rising isolation and threats of warfare over its nuclear deadlock with the U.S., and rising discontent at home, the assembly is seen as a referendum on the establishment — a possible risk for the authorities.