Early results from Friday's nationwide Iran parliamentary elections show a landslide for conservative and hawkish anti-West candidates, with forecasts showing them taking more than two-thirds of the seats.
Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports. Much of this conservative group is led by old guard supporters of ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a victory seen as a major blow to 'reformist' President Hassan Rouhani and his supporters.
US state-funded Radio Farda identifies "that least 15 former cabinet ministers and provincial governors close to former ultraconservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's have also won in the elections" — among them Habibollah Dahmardeh, Ebrahim Azizi, Abdolreza Mesri, Hamid Reza Hajibabai, and Ali Nikzad.
And The Guardian notes of the early results that "The reformists, the largest grouping in the outgoing parliament, have been decisively beaten, with predictions showing them taking only 17 seats in the 290-strong parliament. The principalists – or conservatives – were on course to take around 200 seats, including all 30 seats in the capital, Tehran, previously a stronghold of the reformers."
This after Iran's election watchdog, dubbed the Guardian Council, admitted to disqualifying thousands of candidates just days before the vote.
The State Department has said this translated to over 7,000 candidates that were denied a place in Friday's parliamentary elections, for which the Trump administration leveled sanctions against key Iranian individuals on the Guardian Council.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei still lambasted a "conspiracy" of external US and Israeli attempts at interference in the elections, but still praised the election as a "shining" victory affirming "the people's religious and revolutionary beliefs."
Hardliners win majority in Iran.— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 23, 2020
2016 elections won by moderates who supported Rouhani/nuclear deal with global powers.
This election returns control to conservatives who want to abandon Rouhani push to open up to Western investment and trade.@RcShahlahttps://t.co/gs79Oegoul
Interestingly, Iran's leaders have lately blamed hyped and 'exaggerated' coverage of the coronavirus as designed to keep Iranians away from the polls. It's being reported as an incredibly low turnout compared to past elections.
"In the face of the enemy's conspiracy to hit various pillars of the country, we all need to be vigilant in defense and ready for attack and counterattack," Khamenei said Sunday.