What To Read On Iran This Week: Elections Edition

It’s elections mania here at Iran @ Saban. Voting is underway in Iran today and turn-out is substantial enough that the Interior Ministry has extended voting hours into the evening, as consistent with previous elections. While we wait for the ballots to be counted (or not, if the vote tampering reported in 2009 is repeated), we wanted to pass along a quick compilation of some of the terrific analyses circulating over the course of the past week on the Iranian elections.

For those who are interested in live coverage of the election, stay glued to Twitter, where a number of journalists are providing on-the-spot reports from the polling places and streets of Tehran and around the country. Here are just a few suggestions on who to follow: Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Tehran correspondent for The Financial Times; Thomas Erdbrink, Tehran correspondent for The New York Times; Negar Mortazavi, Iranian-American journalist with an incredible network of contacts in Iran; Tehran Bureau, a digital news service on Iran hosted via The Guardian.

Several news agencies are live blogging the election, including (with links): Reuters; Al Jazeera; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

And, to pass the time until an announcement of the results, which based on 2009 is likely to come not long after the polls close in Iran, check out some of the valuable analyses published in recent days on Iran and its elections:

In addition to voting in the presidential race, Iranians will also select from among 200,000 candidates running in city and local council elections. For a fascinating glimpse into the city council elections, see this piece.

For an update on the human rights situation in Iran, see a report by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center here.

Iranwire, a blog edited by documentary filmmaker and journalist Maziar Bahari, has been churning out detailed and thoughtful coverage of the election in both English and Persian. Among many other great reports, check out Ali Ansari on the election, sanctions, and Khamenei’s nuclear fatwa here; a view from towns and cities across Iran here; Omid Memarian on the nuclear debate here; Alain Lempereur and Amir Hossein Mahdavi examine the implications of a Rouhani or a Jalili presidency for Iran’s nuclear diplomacy here; and Mansour Farhang discusses the structure and struggle for power in Iran here

Al Monitor has wide-ranging coverage of Iranian politics and election-related issues here; of particular note are Yasmin Alem’s piece on the electoral system and procedures here and the must-read analyses of Arash Karami’s Iran Pulse here.

Several of our favorite academic experts on Iran have been offering their take on the developments throughout the campaign. Shervin Malekzadeh of Swarthmore College offers a first-hand perspective from a Rouhani rally last weekend here, while Farideh Farhi analyzes the last-minute alliance constructed to support Hassan Rouhani’s candidacy here.

All the Washington think tanks are in on the action. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, a colleague here at Brookings and a true expert on Iran’s economy at Virginia Tech University, weighs on the “murky” role of the economy in the campaign here. Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace dissects political fashions in the Islamic Republic here and wagers odds on the various candidates’ prospects in today’s ballot here. Alireza Nader discusses the implications of the elections in a report for RAND here. And Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations is interviewed on his interpretation of the campaign dynamics here. Also at CFR, author Reza Aslan offers a provocative reinterpretation of the legacy of controversial Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here.

Finally, something a little different: Nikahang Kowsar, editor of the blog Khodnevis and a renowned Iranian artist and commentator, evoked memories of sitings of Khomeini’s face on the moon during the early phase of Iran’s revolution here.