Reformists Make Big Gains in Iran Elections

But no political camp is expected to win a majority
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2016 2:45 PM CST
Reformists to Win All Seats in Iran's Capital
Iranian women stand in line at a polling station during the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.   (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Partial results released Sunday indicate that Iranian reformists will win all 30 parliamentary seats contested in the capital, Tehran, handing hard-liners an embarrassing defeat in the first elections held since last year's nuclear deal, which appears to be propelling moderates to their best nationwide electoral showing in more than a decade. The deal is expected to bolster moderate allies of President Hassan Rouhani, who championed it in the face of hard-line opposition. However, none of Iran's three main political camps—reformists, conservatives, or hard-liners—is expected to win a majority in the 290-seat assembly. State TV said Sunday that reformists—who favor expanding social freedoms and improving relations with the West—are set to win all of Tehran's seats.

It said 62% of the capital's votes have been counted. Tehran is seen as a political bellwether where prominent members of all three camps face off against each other. Across the country, the reformist camp is on track for its best showing in more than a decade. The final results from the elections are expected on Monday. Friday's election was the first since last summer's nuclear deal, which brought about the lifting of crippling international sanctions on Iran in exchange for it curbing its nuclear activities. Reformists and moderate conservatives—who supported the agreement—appear poised to win a majority, which could pave the way for increased economic openness and greater cooperation with the West on regional issues like the war against the Islamic State group. (More Iran stories.)

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