Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The 2009 Elections and Iran’s Changing Political Landscape

The 2009 Elections and Iran’s Changing Political Landscape


Iran’s June 2009 elections set into motion four processes that are central to the operations of the Islamic Republic regime. They include: the growing gap between large sections of Iranian society from the Islamic Republican state; the steady militarization of the political system; the unprecedented degree to which the Supreme Leader has become an active partisan in the increasingly bitter political infighting among regime insiders, and—most significantly—the violent disruption of an emerging set of “rules of the game,” that previously served as a safety check against excessive factional infighting. This last consequence of the election and its aftermath is likely to leave its most enduring imprint on the State. Specifically, the elections have taken Iran from manageable factionalism to the brink of complete political paralysis. As such, given the untenability of the State’s present predicament, far-reaching changes are almost certain to come.

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