A divide among Iran’s conservatives casts doubt whether a victory in the May 2021 election is within their reach, despite their overwhelming majority at the Iranian parliament and the fact that many of the institutions that affect the election and its results are also held by conservatives.
Despite their differences and infightings, the conservative camp has historically enjoyed wholehearted support from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Conservatives would be met with little resistance in the vetting process by the conservative-held Guardian Council, and have generally been treated favorably by powerful institutions including the seminaries and the armed forces.
So, why regardless of all the advantages, are Iranian conservatives unsure about the prospects of winning the election?
Iranian conservatives thrived as a relatively same-minded camp until 2005, when ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election for the first time.
The emergence of Iranian neo-cons around Ahmadinejad ignited divides that shattered the image of unified conservatives, challenging their status as Iran’s most important pillar of power.
During the second term of office of Ahmadinejad from 2009 – 2013, new groups emerged within the conservative camp, particularly with the emergence of Paydari Front.
Since 2013, conservatives have not been able to unite under any leadership, and the party’s status as a unified group seems ultimately altered.
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