Prominent members of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are lining up for this summer’s presidential election, which marks the end of moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s term and likely a pivot to a more combative and inflexible regime in Tehran.
IRGC figures are hoping to capitalize on a conservative wave, buoyed by the failure of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, former President Donald Trump‘s punitive “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s desire to secure the future of the Iranian theocracy.
American sanctions and diplomatic isolation have choked Iran’s economy, which has also struggled to stay afloat amid the chaos unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rouhani’s moderate government has brutally crushed unrest, throttling internet connectivity and freeing security forces to gun down dissenters in the streets. Rouhani’s landmark JCPOA deal was supposed to bring prosperity to Iran, but even before Trump torpedoed it the accord’s benefits remained elusive.
There remains strong opposition to the theocratic regime in Tehran, but within the narrow confines of Iran’s managed democracy, the conservatives—including the influential ideologues within the IRGC—are in the ascendency.
U.S. duplicity and belligerence has empowered the hardliners who always warned against the deal. For them, Trump’s term was all the proof needed that Americans cannot be trusted to respect any deal, regardless of what party they represent.
Conservative candidates swept last year’s parliamentary elections—though they were helped by historically low turnout—and have since been lambasting Rouhani’s government for its overtures to the U.S. and its support for the JCPOA.
Lawmakers have even brought legal action against the administration for trying to water down the parliamentary legislation expanding the country’s nuclear program in response to the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, reportedly by Israeli agents.
Read the complete article at: Newsweek