The recent parliamentary elections in Iran, in which conservative allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared to gain majority control of the parliament, were an embarrassing blow to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will now face an even more hostile political environment for the rest of his second term, which ends in June 2013.
“Going forward, we are going to see a more authoritarian system of government where there is less give-and-take and where foreign and domestic policy is more likely to be rigid rather than flexible, with really a few men making major decisions,” said Alireza Nader, a senior international policy analyst at RAND. “Iran is going to become less democratic. We’re witnessing the destruction of the Islamic Republic as it was envisioned by its founders.”
According to Nader, the election was not fair and free. “It was hardly an election,” he said. The Guardian Council, a conservative, 12-member oversight panel that supervises elections, disqualified many candidates from among Ahmadinejad’s supporters, Nader said, while many of the reformists boycotted the election.