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Iran's fractious hard-liners hold edge as parliamentary election approaches

Despite their divisions, Iran's conservatives and hard-liners are still likely to dominate the legislative elections next month, as many progressives are rejecting the vote entirely.
Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi (R-2) holds hands with former presidential candidate and mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (L), as he greets his supporters during a campaign rally at Imam Khomeini Mosque in the capital Tehran on May 16, 2017.
Iran's presidential election on May 19 is effectively a choice between moderate incumbent Hassan Rouhani and hardline jurist Raisi, with major implications for everything from civil rights to relations with Washington. / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE

Iran’s hard-liners and conservatives appear to have failed to reach a unified platform ahead of the Feb. 21 parliamentary election, though they face no serious competition, as Reformists are mostly determined to boycott the ballot boxes.

For a year, conservatives and hard-liners have sought to set their differences aside and form a united front. Senior conservatives established the unofficial Council of Unity to manage the election. The council was at first successful in attracting influential faces. But many of these figures left, including former presidential candidate and nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, along with the hard-line Endurance Front. However, the council continued to meet, presenting itself as the only major coalition of hard-liners and conservatives.

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