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Next February's elections in Iran have already begun.February's election will be tightly contested as the Assembly may in its next eight-year term chose who replaces Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 76, as Iran's supreme leader. But the poll also looms with a broad realignment taking place in Iranian politics, prompted by parliamentary elections due on the same day, which will likely be shaped by continuing rancor over the nuclear agreement with world powers.Even if the United States Congress does not, as many Iranians fear, scuttle the agreement, it still has to be implemented and so will remain a live issue at the center of Iranian politics well into 2016, especially as opponents of the deal resent anything smacking of cooperation with the U.S. This encourages a divide between those who support the agreement – the bulk of the political class – and those who do not.Khamenei has also helped keep the nuclear issue on the front burner. It is dangerous to simplify any Iranian election, given the local and provincial factors in a country larger than Turkey, Iraq and Syria combined. Rouhani has also expressed support for allowing some reformist candidates to run in the election.
The nuclear deal and Iran’s elections
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