Moderates, Reformists Win Key Iran Election Races

Results indicate repudiation to hard-line opponents of landmark nuclear deal

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Hassan Rouhani

Rouhani may get the support he needs to pass social and political reforms

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Updated Feb. 29, 2016 9:32 a.m. ET

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TEHRAN—Moderates and reformists close to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have won key seats in Iran’s parliament and Assembly of Experts, dealing a setback to hard-lines opposed the Iranian leaders’ policy of more openness to the West.

In the first parliamentary election since Mr. Rouhani’s government reached a nuclear deal in July with the U.S. and other world powers, moderates and reformists took all 30 of Tehran’s seats in the 290-seat parliament, or Majlis, state television reported Monday.

In contests for the powerful Assembly of Experts, which will pick a successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the same moderate-reformist bloc also won all but one of the capital’s 16 seats to the 88-member body.

Moderate candidates have won 15 of the 16 seats in an election for Iran’s Assembly of Experts, the 88-member clerical body that will elect a successor to the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Getty Images.

The outcome from races outside Tehran and other Iranian cities was still being assessed, but there were preliminary indications that the bloc performed well there, too. If so, the Mr. Rouhani would have a parliamentary majority—a huge blow to opponents of the nuclear accord.

The ballot was seen as a referendum on President Rouhani, who staked his government’s success on achieving the nuclear accord and ending Iran’s isolation abroad. Under the agreement, Tehran agreed to limits on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international economic sanctions.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told state television that about 34 million of Iran’s 55 million eligible voters—or 62%—cast ballots on Friday, down slightly from 63.9% in parliamentary elections in 2012.

Iran has reached a historic agreement with major world powers over its nuclear program. What is Iran giving up, and how does it benefit in the long run? And what are supporters and critics of the deal saying? WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains.

An Iranian man holds a copy of the daily Shargh newspaper with a headline reading “Decisive victory for the reformist” in Tehran, 28 Feb.
An Iranian man holds a copy of the daily Shargh newspaper with a headline reading “Decisive victory for the reformist” in Tehran, 28 Feb. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Write to Asa Fitch at asa.fitch@wsj.com

Read the rest:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/moderates-win-majority-in-tehran-in-iranian-elections-1456736113

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