Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Iranians will soon vote for the second round of parliamentary elections. According to Iranian State TV, there are 130 candidates contesting 65 seats, 25 of which are in Iran’s capital, Tehran. There are 290 seats in the parliament, or Majilis, of which conservative opponents to President Mahmoud Ahmadeinjad took the majority during the first round ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Iranians will soon vote for the second round of parliamentary elections. According to Iranian State TV, there are 130 candidates contesting 65 seats, 25 of which are in Iran's capital, Tehran. There are 290 seats in the parliament, or Majilis, of which conservative opponents to President Mahmoud Ahmadeinjad took the majority during the first round of elections in March. The voting comes amid a power struggle between the president and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The parliament does not hold direct control over Iranian policies, but the results of the election could affect the level of support for Ahmadenijad in next year's presidential election.

Syria

Amnesty International released a report on Friday, a collection of testimonies of executions and burnings of residents in Syrian's northern city of Idlib. The human rights group's senior crisis advisor, Donatella Rovera, gave an account from eyewitnesses of hundreds of homes being burned down, and people being killed or burned alive after the focus of the Syrian regime shifted from Homs to Idlib. Despite the continuous reports of violence, the spokesman for United Nations and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, Ahmad Fawzi said, "the Annan plan is on track." He continued that there are "small signs of compliance" which he does not find satisfactory but notes progress. In contrast, U.S. White House spokesman Jay Carney said "the plan has not been succeeding thus far," and if regime violence continues, "the international community is going to have to admit defeat." Ten people were reported dead on Friday in attacks across the country. The opposition Syrian National Council called for mass protests on Friday in response to the raid on Aleppo University that began late Wednesday night and killed four students, forcing the school to close.

Iranians will soon vote for the second round of parliamentary elections. According to Iranian State TV, there are 130 candidates contesting 65 seats, 25 of which are in Iran’s capital, Tehran. There are 290 seats in the parliament, or Majilis, of which conservative opponents to President Mahmoud Ahmadeinjad took the majority during the first round of elections in March. The voting comes amid a power struggle between the president and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The parliament does not hold direct control over Iranian policies, but the results of the election could affect the level of support for Ahmadenijad in next year’s presidential election.

Syria

Amnesty International released a report on Friday, a collection of testimonies of executions and burnings of residents in Syrian’s northern city of Idlib. The human rights group’s senior crisis advisor, Donatella Rovera, gave an account from eyewitnesses of hundreds of homes being burned down, and people being killed or burned alive after the focus of the Syrian regime shifted from Homs to Idlib. Despite the continuous reports of violence, the spokesman for United Nations and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, Ahmad Fawzi said, "the Annan plan is on track." He continued that there are "small signs of compliance" which he does not find satisfactory but notes progress. In contrast, U.S. White House spokesman Jay Carney said "the plan has not been succeeding thus far," and if regime violence continues, "the international community is going to have to admit defeat." Ten people were reported dead on Friday in attacks across the country. The opposition Syrian National Council called for mass protests on Friday in response to the raid on Aleppo University that began late Wednesday night and killed four students, forcing the school to close.

Headlines  

  • Hagai Amir, brother to the assassin of former Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin and accomplice, was released after 16 and a half years in prison.
  • Thousands of Egyptians plan to march in a "Final Friday" protest to Tahrir Square and to the Ministry of Defense in response to Wednesday’s deadly attack on demonstrators.
  • Ahead of a second round on nuclear talks, Iran said it would not suspend its uranium enrichment program nor does it see any reason to.
  • Three Turkish soldiers and two PKK militants were killed in clashes in two separate attacks early on Friday.

Arguments and Analysis 

‘The Crony System That Makes Israelis Poorer’ (Daniel Doron, Wall Street Journal)

"Mr. Elrov’s one-issue boycott eventually was taken over by populist groups demanding cheap housing and free preschool education, then it was seized upon by well-funded leftist political groups pushing an "Occupy Wall Street" anticapitalist agenda and trying to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu’s pro-market government. By summer’s end, the protests had fizzled, with many Israelis disenchanted by these hidden agendas. But the core truth of Mr. Elrov’s lament remained. Even before the cottage-cheese boycott, the prime minister had appointed a commission to deal with Israel’s extraordinary concentration of political and economic power. The latter had become the center of public furor after an April 2010 Bank of Israel report affirmed that "some 20 family business groups, structured as pyramids, control some 25% of firms listed for trading, about half of the market share." The report also noted that a mere handful of business groups received over 60% of Israel’s available credit, which they invested in highly leveraged and speculative real-estate ventures."

‘Al Qaeda Documents Shed New Light On Tense Relationship With Iran’ (Ali Gharib, ThinkProgress)

"One of the most successful Bush administration talking points in rousing public opinion to go to war with Iraq drew on exaggerated claims of Iraqi involvement with Al Qaeda – pulling at the emotional heartstrings that naturally go hand in hand with the memory of the tragic attack of 9/11. Again today, hawks pushing for harsher measures against Iran exaggerate ties between Iran and Al Qaeda. For example, Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard, whose editor has called for war with Iran, composed three articles in the past two months about Iran-Al Qaeda links. But a batch of documents seized from Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and analysis of them released today by West Point’s Combatting Terrorism Center (CTC) show a tense relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda – a far cry from breathless hawks’ pronouncements of "cooperation" and "affiliation" that is unencumbered by theological and ideological differences. Instead, the documents refer to Iranians as "Al Rafidah," which CTC translators render in English as "the rejecters," meaning the Shia Muslims whose sect dominates Iran. The documents, according to the CTC report (PDF) describe "an antagonistic relationship, largely based on indirect and unpleasant negotiations over the release of detained jihadis and their families.""

‘Ever-resilient but maybe more malleable’ (The Economist)

"One reason for the Islamic Republic’s durability against what many would regard as overwhelming odds is the dogged but subtle crisis management of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader…But that does not presage victory for Mr Khamenei. His skill at deflecting crises does not conceal his inability to prevent them from blowing up in the first place. The Islamic Republic is enfeebled by corruption, inefficiency and the institutionalised disdain of those in authority for the people they rule. All of these ills have been fostered by Mr Khamenei’s dictatorial approach. In the Iranian body politic, the supreme leader is both virus and vaccine. The latest crisis is socioeconomic. Sanctions and the government’s populist profligacy have led to rampant inflation (running far higher than the advertised 22%) and a wildly oscillating exchange rate which saw the rial fall by more than 50% against the dollar before a recent mini-rally caused by optimism that a nuclear agreement might be in sight. The uncertainty has prompted a flight from production and into traditional refuges such as gold, property and even carpets. Sanctions and rising energy prices have cost many jobs. According to the central bank, 22% of families are in effect without a breadwinner."

 –By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.