Iran Election 2013 – Your Questions Answered

On Friday, Iran is holding an election for a new president. In total 7 contenders are hoping to gain the presidency after 1 contender dropped out earlier this month. Although Iran has no true political parties the candidates are ideological distinct (4 are conservatives and 3 are cautious reformers)

Is the current President standing?

The current president – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – is unable to serve another term after already serving a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Who are the candidates for the presidency?

Pro-Khamenei candidates:

– Saeed Jalili who is Iran’s security of the National Security Council and a chief negotiator in foreign affairs

– Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, mayor of Tehran

– Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide of Khamenei

– Mohsen Rezai

The reform candidates:

– Mohammad Reza Aref, the former vice-president

– Hassan Rowhani, former nuclear negotiator

– Mohammad Gharazi, an ex-minister

Who did not make it through vetting?

In total 678 people desired to stand for the presidency, with only 8 candidates (now 7) remaining after the vetting process. This process is meant to “prevent corruption and deviation”, according to one jurist. It includes background checks on police records, court records, and registry records for loyalty to Islam. After, the Guardian Council (12 Muslim clergymen) help the vetting process, but this has led critics to believe that many candidates are ‘hand-picked’ because of their loyalty to Islam.

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Are the they concerned about a low turnout?

This does appear to be the case. Authorities have made changes to hold local council elections for the same day as well as by-elections for the Assembly of Experts (a group of clerics that appoint the supreme leader). By combining all the elections into one day is a hopeful attempt to boost voter turnout.

What are the election issues?

The economy is in a very poor state, mostly as a result of the country’s nuclear programme.  All the candidates have declared their intention of improving the economy. The pro-Khamenei candidates have also talked about privatisation and fighting corruption whilst the reformers talked about improving world relation. However, NO candidate has mentioned the nuclear programme, which is the cause of their messy economy.

How does the election work?

One candidate needs to have over 50% of the vote to win. If no candidate gets that in the first round and run-off will be held between the top 2 candidates to ensure one candidate gets the majority of votes required to win. On 3rd August the president is to be sworn in.

Who will winner?

Although opinion polls and media coverage of the election is often unreliable the informal polls in Iran show that the moderate reformer Hassan Rowhani has a strong lead. But, it is hard to say and all we can do is wait and see…

Keep reading my blog to find out the result of this election in 2 months time!

What are your thoughts on the election in Iran? How should the candidates tackle the crippling economy?

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

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North Korea – Your Questions Answered!

North Korea is a large concern internationally and we want to clear up some questions you may want answered:

Do they have a bomb?

It is fairly certain they do in fact have one, but it is uncertain whether they have a missile that can carry it. In 2006, 2009 and this year North Korea have stated that successful tests have occurred and are prepared to launch – but nothing came of it. There is some satellite data that suggests they have been testing and conducting experiments underground in the East side of the country, and although it is certain they have enough chemicals to produce the bomb it is still unverified whether they have made a bomb small enough to fit on a missile.

North Korea’s Nuclear Programme

In 2008, North Korea said that they would stop operations and even dismantle their facilities, but this year they have stated that they will restart these facilities in opposition to the latest US sanctions (a threatened penalty for disobeying a law). However, it is believed the operations were never actually stopped in 2008 and that North Korea have a number of uranium-enrichment programmes. Furthermore, a number of new facilities are being built in the country which they say are for civilian purposes, but it is very likely that they are in fact facilities which will aid their Nuclear Programme.

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What is being done about their Nuclear programme?

So far there has been a lot of negotiation with North Korea from many countries (including USA, Russia and China) to stop the programme. In 2005 it seemed the Nuclear programme had been stopped with a deal that led to the country agreeing to abandon it nuclear ambition. However, enforcing the terms of the deal proved hard and it was believed they continued the Nuclear programme. In 2011, significant evidence suggested they had not stopped so talks and negotiations began again. In 2012, they agreed again to stop Nuclear testing and America would reward North Korea with food aid. But further testing in late 2012 and early this year broke down the talks.

The third nuclear test

This test, according to North Korea, was the test that confirmed that they had created a device small enough to fit onto a missile. This is very concerning to the international community and especially if the rumours of it being their most powerful device is true. It is also a concern that the monitoring of North Korea’s testing has failed to detect radioactive isotopes, meaning that it is uncertain what the bomb may contain. But, North Korea’s warning of “high-level” tests has led many experts to believe the bomb contains Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) – if this is true, then this is very concerning for countries worldwide.

What are your views on Korea and their nuclear programme?

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

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