Iran’s not getting any friendlier to the west–for now

 It’s Bad News Bears for champions of reform in Iran. Conservatives won as large a majority in parliamentary elections as they did in 2004. Disbarring of most reformist candidates and a 60% turnout fueled the result. But while the conservatives (self-described as principilists) retained their majority not all is lost for the West.

Why election results are a mixed bag for the west can be explained in one name: Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. The hardline president elected in 2005 today finds himself in undesirable sorts. Several principilists are troubled by his inflammatory rhetoric and are aligning themselves with the liberal reformists to curb his influence. If this move is successful it will dull Mr Ahmedinejad’s power; it is also likely to dull the coalition principilist’s goals due to their union with more liberal members of the Majilis.

But be clear. This situation doesn’t leave much to the western optimist. The elected conservatives align themselves with 1979’s Islamic Revolution and are hostile to outsiders. If Friday’s election produced any definitive winner it was Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured above), whose final say on all domestic and foreign policy is now strengthened by a weakened president and a compromised opposition. Whether America elects a president that will pull troops out of Iraq or keeps them in for some time, the new executive will face a more emboldened hand in the middle east at least for another election cycle.

Meet the winner – [The Economist]

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