Legitimacy concerns will haunt the new president, Ebrahim Raisi, after non-voters outnumbered voters for the first time
The first thing you need to know about Iran’s recent elections is that while they produced a new president, there are no real winners. “Engineered” – yes, an actual term in usage in Iran – to pave the way for an ayatollah-approved leadership succession, the polls have achieved what has long eluded the Islamic Republic’s foes: effective regime change in Tehran. Only, with hardliners now firmly in charge, it is not the type of change that many in the west had sought.
Reaching his twilight years, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been looking for a successor. To the 82-year-old head of state, the ideal successor is a pliant loyalist who could emulate his own journey from the presidency to the top position in the land. On paper, this is precisely what is unfolding. However, as always, the devil is in the detail.