Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi

Researcher at the Crown Center and graduate student at Harvard University.


Naghmeh Sohrabi

Associate Director for Research at the Crown Center and the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History.


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What Does the 2017 Presidential Election Tell Us about the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi and Naghmeh Sohrabi
Middle East Brief 109, May 2017


On May 19, 2017, Iranians go to the polls to elect their next president from six candidates, including the incumbent Hasan Rouhani. The election has become surprisingly competitive for a variety of reasons, including the unclear economic benefits of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015. In this Brief, Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi and Naghmeh Sohrabi analyze three other issues that have come to the fore in the space for public debate opened by this election: the effects of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s death in January 2017 on the reformist-centrist alliance; the question of, and the planning around, the eventual successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei; and finally, the unemployment crisis in Iran and the associated mobilization of the populist vote. The Brief concludes with an examination of the expected evolution of these issues in the aftermath of the election, regardless of who is elected president.

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