For the first time in 12 years, Israel will have a new leader as Naftali Bennett takes over as the new prime minister. Mehrzad Boroujerdi, an internationally recognized expert on Iran and Middle Eastern politics at Virginia Tech, says people worldwide are now looking to this Friday, June 18, when Iran will hold its presidential election.

“The current chief justice, Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, is favored to win after many potential rivals were disqualified by the powerful Guardian Council,” says Boroujerdi. “So far, the public is very nonchalant about the candidates considering their lackluster quality and many are urging them to boycott the elections as a way of showing their dissatisfaction.”

Boroujerdi says that it seems highly unlikely that we will see a voter tsunami on Friday. Meanwhile, the nuclear negotiators assembled in Austria are warily waiting for the results of the elections to see if Iran’s position may change.

“This election may prove consequential not only in terms of Iran’s immediate nuclear and regional policies but also in terms of the jockeying that goes on for who will eventually replace the current Supreme Leader once he passes from the scene,” says Boroujerdi.

About Boroujerdi

An internationally recognized expert on Iran and Middle Eastern politics, Mehrzad Boroujerdi is the director of Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Boroujerdi has written and contributed to a number of books on Iranian society and politics, including "Iranian Intellectuals and the West: The Tormented Triumph of Nativism" (Syracuse University Press, 1996) and "Post-revolutionary Iran: A Political Handbook" (Syracuse University Press, 2018). He has been interviewed by numerous national and international media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Economist, Guardian, LA Times, NPR, New York Times, Reuters, Spiegel and Washington Post.

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