What Happened: Tehran's city council has appointed Pirouz Hanachi, a former deputy mayor running as a reformist technocrat, as the new mayor, Iran Front Page reported Nov. 13. Hanachi has won 11 votes from the 21-member council, defeating former Minister of Transportation Abbas Akhoundi in a runoff vote.
Why It Matters: With U.S. sanctions coming into force last week, local Iranian politics will be an important indicator to gauge if there will be any pressure building up against moderates and reformists in upcoming 2020 parliamentary elections and 2021 presidential elections. It will also be important to monitor if the country's non-elected political actors, such as the intelligence and security establishment, will attempt to formally sideline moderates and reformists to take control behind the scenes.
Background: The last two long-time mayors of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, have respectively won and finished second in national presidential elections. In 2017, Iran’s reformists took control of Tehran’s city council for the first time in more than a decade. Hanachi will be the third permanent mayor since 2017 elections.
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- U.S.: The Latest Sanctions Against Iran Cast a Wide Secondary Net (Oct. 17, 2018)
- Iran: Attack in Restive Khuzestan Raises Suspicions of Foreign Involvement (Sept. 24, 2018)