Mohammad Reza Aref

Iran infighting turns election into real contest

Iran infighting turns election into real contest

Iran’s ruling theocracy was unable to overcome its notorious infighting and unite behind a single candidate in Friday’s presidential election, which has suddenly boosted the prospects of the lone moderate in the race and rekindled interest among some who had planned to boycott.

A cleric and former nuclear negotiator with only modest reform credentials, Hassan Rowhani stirred little enthusiasm when he announced his candidacy in April. Even when he was one of only two centrists to survive the vetting of the conservative, cleric-controlled Guardian Council, he was given little chance of drawing more than a sliver of the vote.