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Iran Election 1400 with Dr James Barry

The 21 March 2021 marked the beginning of the year 1400 in the official Iranian calendar. As Iran enters a new century seeking a new president, the Iran Election 1400 podcast brings you all of the major events.

MESF will make sure that you don’t face this election alone. Iran Election 1400 is a weekly podcast that will be your guide through the complex theatre of the Iranian presidential election season, its processes, personalities, issues, consequences and outcomes.

Find up to date election news and information on candidates here, or follow us on Twitter @iranvotes1400.

Raisi’s Victory – Where to Now For Iran?

Ebrahim Raisi was announced as the winner of the 2021 Iranian Presidential Election within 12 hours of polls closing, in what many commentators saw as an engineered victory. But Raisi’s successful election was not always a done deal, and the Chief Justice was not always the leadership’s preferred choice to succeed Hassan Rouhani. In this episode, Dr James Barry summarises the election campaign, looking at how the assassination of Qasem Soleimani in January 2020 caused a crisis for the government, and the ways in which Raisi’s rivals were removed in the lead-up to the election over the past two months. In the second half, Dr Barry is joined on the panel by Dr Ali Mozaffari to discuss what sort of leader Raisi will be, what the participation rate tells us about public attitudes to voting in Iran, and what this election means in a larger political and historical context.

Episode 7: Election Day – Who Will Win and Why Raisi?

It is election day in Iran and the result seems a foregone conclusion; however, the meaning of this election lies in its consequences for the future of the Islamic Republic. In this episode, Dr James Barry is joined on the panel by Dr Elham Naeej, Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh and Dr Ali Mozaffari to discuss their interpretations of what is happening. Will there be a Hemmati upset, as some dubious polls are predicting, will this election affect the future of voting in Iran, and has this election been engineered to “save the nezam”?

In the second half of the show, the panel is joined by Nasim Basiri of Oregon State University, who explains the specific difficulties face by women in rural and regional Iran which are often left out of Tehran-centric research, as well as the ongoing problem of gendered violence.

Episode 6: Debating Taboos: How Effective are the Candidates’ Appeals to Ethnic Minorities and Women?

It’s one week to Election Day and the first two debates have taken place, with candidates trading insults and making extravagant promises. There was also a concerted effort to appeal to ethnic minorities and women, two significant marginalised groups, to win their votes. In this episode, Dr James Barry discusses the viability of this approach with Dr Elham Naeej, Dr Ali Mozaffari and Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh, asking why Azerbaijanis in particularly are the focus of candidates’ attention. Also up for discussion, the Supreme Leader’s attempt to intervene on the candidates’ list, the absence of foreign policy discussions in the debates and the ongoing issue of accountability.

In the second part, special guest Dr Alam Saleh of the Australian National University discusses the politics of ethnicity and sectarianism in Iran, and the use of marginal groups by the state.

Episode 5: Disaster Documentaries and Dark Horses: What Happened in the First Week of the Campaign?

The election campaign is well and truly under way, with candidates making all kinds of far-fetched promises. The first campaign documentaries have started screening in an environment of strict censorship. In this episode, Dr James Barry is joined by Dr Elham Naeej and Dr Ali Mozaffari to discuss the campaign documentaries released so far, the rise of the election dark horse, Abdol-Naser Hemmati, and the latest antics of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In the second half of the show, special guest Dr Mahmoud Pargoo discusses the findings of his latest book, Presidential Elections in Iran (co-authored with Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh), describing the secularisation of political discourse in Iran since the Revolution.

Episode 4: The Official Candidate List: Is There a Crisis in the Islamic Republic or Is It Business as Usual?

The official list of candidates was announced on May 25 with the disqualification of several senior government figures generating controversy. In this episode, Dr James Barry discusses the list with Dr Elham Naeej and Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh, asking whether the system in Iran is in crisis or is the degree of authoritarian control in this election the normal standard for the Islamic Republic.

Also, with special guest Dr Claudia Yaghoobi, we delve into more detail about issues affecting Iranian women, discussing sigheh (temporary marriage) and the politics of the hijab

Episode 3: Nominations are In – Who are the Candidates? Who Will be Approved? Who has no Chance?

The deadline for nomination of candidates for Iran’s Presidential Election in June 18 has ended, and now the period of vetting by the Guardian Council takes place. In this episode, Dr Elham Naeej and Dr Ali Mozaffari join Dr James Barry to discuss all of the main candidates, including the favourites to get through (Ebrahim Raisi, Ali Larijani), some interesting “maybe” candidates (Rostam Ghasemi, Mohsen Hashemi) and some colourful “no chance” candidates (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Saeed Mohammad).

This week’s guest is Dr Ali Fathollah-Nejad, who tackles some of the key questions of this campaign, including how the diminished role of the president causes voter apathy, and the causes and trajectory of the decline of the Reformist faction.

Episode 2: Will Women Candidates be Approved in this Election?

In this episode Dr James Barry, Dr Elham Naeej and Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh cover the registration of female candidates in the election, asking the key questions: how is the term “rajol-e siasi” used to exclude women? How are women used and weaponised in elections? How important are the politics of veiling? And is the registration of female candidates an act of resistance?

In the second half of the episode, with special guest British-Iranian journalist Maryam Sinaiee, we tackle a number of pertinent issues in this election, particularly the nature of censorship in Iran and how this affects reporting, the behind the scenes struggles between different factions of the Iranian government, and the controversial campaign and registration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who may prove to be a destructive force in this election season.

Episode 1: What is the Iranian Presidential Election and why is it important?

In this episode, Dr James Barry and Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh discuss the importance of the Iranian Presidential Election, where the President sits in Iran’s complicated political system, what challenges Iran is facing that will be important this year, along with explaining the factions and key events of this election season.