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Iran Follows 2012 Election ScriptTo Avoid 2013 Election Surprise

The Iranian government in 2012 staged calm parliamentary elections that resulted in victory for loyal supporters of the supreme leader; it hopes to do the same during this year’s presidential vote.
Iran's former top nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani flashes a victory sign after registering his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election at the interior ministry in Tehran on May 7, 2013. Iran began a five-day registration period for candidates in Iran's June 14 presidential election, with a string of conservative hopefuls in the running but with key reformists yet to come forward, media reports said. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI        (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

With the Guardian Council’s elimination of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei from contention, Iran’s upcoming presidential vote looks likely to be a reprise of the 2012 parliamentary elections — victory for the camp of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei but with a relatively low turnout.

Popular enthusiasm for the eight men approved by the Guardian Council on Tuesday (May 21) has been restrained, to say the least. Many middle-class Iranians are likely to stay home rather than choose among six close associates of Khamenei and two men — Hassan Rouhani and Mohammad Reza Aref — with pragmatist/reformist credentials but little popular following.

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