Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend D.Khatinoglu / The opposition in Iran is unlikely to win seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for the beginning of 2008. "I do not believe there will be victory for the opposition parties during the next parliamentary elections in Iran", said Omid Arab, an Iranian political expert.
Hashemi Rafsanjani, the ex-President of Iran and the chairman of the Consultative Council, has condemned the radical position taken by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and the pressures that have been placed on opposition forces. Rafsanjani voiced his concerns about possible fraud during the upcoming parliamentary elections, Iranian news agency IRNA reported on 13 November. According to Rafsanjani, tension in the region could be dangerous for Iran, with very serious threats from the U.S., but no unity in the country. In response, Ahmedinejad accuses the former presidents of weakness on the nuclear issue, calling some opposition 'betrayers' and 'spies' and threatening them with a lawsuit.
Arab said in a telephone talk with Trend on 13 November that there is tension in the region due to the U.S. threats against Iran, but it will not affect the results of elections. "The pre-election conflict of parties is normal. The victory of the opposition or authorities does not depend on their position on the nuclear issue. The people will vote for the party that can resolve the social problems, and foreign threats cannot affect that," says the Iranian political expert.
Arab also cited another reason that opposition and reformist parties will be hard pressed to succeed at the upcoming elections, this being disagreements within the opposition groups themselves. The former pro-governmental parties have behaved worse than Ahmadinejad's government from an economic and political point-of-view.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Zeydabadi, another Iranian political expert, speaking with Trend in a telephone interview from Tehran, said that there is no hope for victory in the Iranian parliament at the forthcoming elections. "A key reason for this is Ahemadinejad's undisguised attempts to remove the opposition forces. The opposition parties will not even be allowed to participate in the elections. Under the pretext of the enemy's foreign threats, the Government justifies the banning of activities of opposition forces. Reformist forces are more isolated every day and there is no freedom at all. Iran will face serious interior and domestic problems due to the current government. Rivalry in this condition is almost impossible," Zeydabadi said.
Zeydabadi believes that Ahmadinejad is afraid of seeing the reformist forces in the majority in the parliament. "The Government made considerable mistakes in its foreign and domestic policy. The Milli Majlis [Parliament] could potentially hinder Ahmadinejad's radical and unsuccessful diplomacy. In an attempt to avoid this, the state is trying to prevent the presence of the opposition during the elections," Zeydabadi said.