Op-Ed The Causes and Consequences of Iran's June 2005 Presidential Election; Strategic Insights: v.4, issue 8 (August 2005)
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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardline conservative Islamist, scored a stunning victory in the second round of Iran's June 2005 presidential election. Many observers have described Ahmadinejads victory as a key turning point for Iran, predicting that it will produce a new era of radical, puritanical rule at home and greater militancy in Iran's foreign policy. However, Iran's new president will face important political obstacles that will limit his ability to act, so it is not clear whether, and to what extent, he will be able to carry out such drastic changes. This article examines why Ahmadinejad achieved such a decisive victory and what consequences his victory may have for Iranian politics and for Irans domestic and foreign policy. Its main conclusion is that domestic and international political realities will place substantial limitations on Ahmadinejad, making it harder for him to pursue his agenda in some policy areas than in others. Ahmadinejad's victory probably will have a fairly big impact on domestic economic policy and political conditions inside Iran, but its impact on socio-cultural conditions and foreign policy probably will be more limited.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights (August 2005), v.4 no.8
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