Crucial Iranian elections: June 14th

Steven LeBlanc

I am watching closely developments in Iran concerning the presidential elections that take place on Friday, June 14th. There is serious infighting among the regime’s rival factions; this election is already shaped by threats, fear and great uncertainty.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is not as powerful as he once was. The reality is that the regime’s rank and file are no longer a consistent group all on the “same page”, and since the chaos of the 2009 elections, many leaders in Iran have lost faith in Khamenei’s leadership as the unquestioned authority figure of Iran. A common slogan seen in graffiti throughout Iran is “my vote is for the overthrow” of the regime.

I continue to keep in mind what we are told in the book of Daniel, that God often removes and sets up leaders according to His purpose and insights: Daniel 2:21– He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings…

The favorite to win is hard-line presidential candidate Saeed Jalili (see photo above) – Iran’s top nuclear negotiator – but Iranian elections are so unpredictable it is impossible to know the winner in advance. Jalili, 47, has the support of ultraconservative cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who previously mentored Ahmadinejad. Jalili is not about to apologize for Iran’s nuclear program goals. Hardliners see the nuclear program as a sign of national pride and any concession to America and Europe as a slap in the face to Iran’s sovereign rights.

The Iranian president does not have a direct say in major policies such as the country’s foreign policy decisions; the country’s most important decisions are in the hands of the ruling clerics and the powerful Revolutionary Guard. The presidency, however, can help influence the man on the street. The president also directs the economy, which plays an increasingly important role as international sanctions stab deeper because of Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the presidential elections in Iran will have no impact on Iran’s continued advance toward nuclear weapons, or its arming of Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

On the nuclear front…10 rounds of negotiations in the last 17 months have failed to achieve any breakthrough. The West accuses Iran of stonewalling. Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, remarked, “To be frank, for some time now we have been going around in circles,”

It has been stated that if Iran got nuclear weapons, most of the Arab world would tremble, not celebrate. The question remains will America and Israel stop Iran?

Iran is also moving toward a possible confrontation with the West and most of the Arab world over Syria. Tehran is backing its proxy, the Syrian government, against major opposition from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and Qatar.

We will analyze Iranian election results next week.

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