Iran’s Historic Election and Implications on U.S. Policy

On June 12, 2009, Iran witnessed an historic presidential election that brought millions to the polls. Prior to the election, in an unprecedented move, the candidates were given live air time to debate one another on television. In these debates, Iranians witnessed appalling attacks on both President Ahmadinejad and former President Rafsanjani (who remains one of the most powerful clerics in the ruling establishment). These debates unequivocally set the atmosphere for what was to follow the election.

The disputed results brought hundreds of thousands to the streets all over Iran, including Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Zanjan, and Kermanshah. As the street protests mitigated, the rifts within the ruling establishment became more apparent. Rafsanjani and other clerics continue to cast their doubts over the election results while earlier this month a group of former reformist lawmakers called for a probe into the Supreme Leader’s qualification to rule. Despite attempts to abrogate the crisis, Iran’s divisions remain widespread.

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