New Era for Iran: Who Brought a Pro-Western Reformer to Power?


The Iranian presidential election was closely followed abroad, as Iran, a Middle Eastern heavyweight, is at the heart of several geopolitical crises: from the war in Gaza to the nuclear issue, in which it opposes Western countries, notably the United States, its sworn enemy.

Opposition figures in Iran and in the diaspora had called for a boycott of the vote, saying the conservative and reformist camps represent two sides of the same coin, while the ultimate decision-maker remains Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, knowing that during the campaign, Mr. Pezeshkian received the support of two former presidents, the reformist Mohammad Khatami and the moderate Hassan Rouhani.

So no one would have bet on Mr. Pezeshkian, the deputy from Tabriz, the large city in northwestern Iran, when his candidacy was accepted by the Guardian Council along with five other candidates, all conservatives. This father, who raised three children alone after the death of his wife and another child in a car accident in 1993, presents himself as the “voice of the voiceless.”

Having come out on top in the first round, Mr Pezeshkian is calling for an Iran that is more open to the West.

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