Iran Prepares for Run-off Presidential Election

Iran Prepares for Run-off Presidential Election

Tahmina Rahmani
2 min read

Iran Prepares for Run-Off Presidential Election Amidst Regional Tensions

Iran is bracing for a run-off presidential election on July 5, 2024, following an initial vote where no candidate secured the required majority. The competition is fierce between moderate lawmaker Massoud Pezeshkian and hardline diplomat Saeed Jalili, with Pezeshkian holding a slight lead. This election comes in the aftermath of President Ebrahim Raisi’s tragic death in a helicopter crash. Despite the leadership transition, Iran's policies, particularly regarding nuclear programs and regional militia support, are anticipated to remain steady under the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The election takes place against a backdrop of heightened tensions in the region, including conflicts involving Israel and allies of Iran. Pezeshkian, advocating for detente with the West and social liberalization, stands in contrast to Jalili's outspoken anti-Western stance. The outcome of this election could have an impact on the succession process for the 85-year-old Khamenei.

Public dissatisfaction with economic challenges and restricted political freedoms has raised doubts about the legitimacy of the clerical establishment. While all candidates have pledged to address economic issues, the limited pool of contenders, dominated by hardline factions, reflects the firm hold of the supreme leader's regime.

Key Takeaways

  • Iran's presidential election heads to a run-off on July 5 following a failure to secure a majority in the initial voting.
  • Moderate candidate Massoud Pezeshkian is leading with 10 million votes, while hardliner Saeed Jalili follows closely with 9.4 million.
  • The election outcome is improbable to bring about major policy shifts but could impact the succession of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
  • Pezeshkian advocates for detente with the West and social liberalization, in contrast to Jalili's staunch anti-Western stance.
  • Despite expectations of policy continuity, the president still wields influence over Iran's foreign and domestic policy tone.


The run-off for the Iranian presidency, featuring the moderate Pezeshkian and hardliner Jalili, provides insight into the internal power dynamics under the leadership of Khamenei. Public sentiment is fueled by economic discontent and regional tensions. A potential victory for Pezeshkian may lead to a softening of Iran's stance towards the West, impacting sanctions and nuclear negotiations. Conversely, a win for Jalili could intensify regional conflicts and strain international relations. Both outcomes have the potential to influence Khamenei's succession, shaping Iran's long-term trajectory. In the short term, the election supports policy stability; however, in the long term, it sets diplomatic and economic strategies.

Did You Know?

  • Run-off Presidential Election:
    • A run-off election is held when no candidate attains a majority (over 50%) of the votes in the initial round. A subsequent round of voting is conducted, usually between the top two candidates from the first round, to determine the victor.
  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:
    • As the highest political and religious authority in Iran, the Supreme Leader wields power over all branches of government, including the presidency. This role ensures continuity in policies regardless of the elected president.
  • Detente with the West:
    • Detente refers to the easing of tensions and improvement in relations between countries, particularly between Iran and Western nations. Advocates such as Pezeshkian endorse this approach to potentially alleviate economic sanctions and promote international cooperation.

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