In hotly contested parliamentary elections, candidates supportive of President Khatami’s reforms won an overwhelming victory.
About the Author
Haleh Esfandiari is consulting director of the Middle East Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. From 1980 to 1994, she taught Persian language and literature at Princeton University. Prior to that, she had served as deputy secretary general of the Women’s Organization of Iran and worked as a journalist in Iran. She is the author of Reconstructed Lives: Women and Iran’s Islamic Revolution (1997), written in part while she was a visiting fellow at the International Forum for Democratic Studies in 1995. This essay draws upon remarks that she presented on March 8 at a symposium sponsored by the Wilson Center and the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.
The large number of nonvoters suggests that the movement for a free, internationally monitored referendum on the Islamic Republic’s constitution could gain widespread support. We must now work to make…
Once again, a reformist electoral victory has been followed by political setbacks. The key to understanding this paradoxical pattern lies in the unique theocratic constitutional structure of the Islamic Republic.