The two “elections” in the Islamic Republic of Iran, for Parliament (Majlis) and the Assembly of Experts (Khobregān), held simultaneously on 26 February 2016, were welcomed in most of the western media as a great victory for the “moderates” or “reformists,” headed by President Rouhani and his mentor, former President Rafsanjani. According to this reading, the defeat suffered by the “Principlists,” or conservative supporters of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, marks a period of opening and hope where social progress, respect for human rights and renewed economic growth will come. Time Magazine titled its piece about the elections: “The Nuclear Deal pays off,”1 while some others assured that “Iranian elections can matter.”2
But how much can these elections effect the course of events and what are the chances for some meaningful changes in Iranian policy? We intend to look into the Iranian electoral process and draw some conclusions.