Semira N. Nikou's Blog
Hassan Ghafouri Fard, conservative member of parliament
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Interview with Fatemeh Haghighatjoo
- What role have women played in Iran's parliament since the 1979 revolution?
- Why did conservative women dominate the recent parliaments?
- What type of women--political affiliation, religious background, social class--generally run as candidates?
- Gohar Dastgheib (daughter of Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib)
- Ategheh Rajai (wife of former President MohammadAli Rajai)
- Faezeh Hashemi (daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani)
- Azam Taleghani (daughter of Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani)
- Jamileh Kadivar (wife of former minister Ata’ollah Mohajerani and sister of Mohsen Kadivar)
- Fatemeh Karoubi (wife of former speaker of Majles and opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi).
- Which women tend to get more votes?
- Why has the number of female parliamentarians decreased since 2004?
- What positions do female parliamentarians generally hold on issues affecting women—such as on divorce or controversial family laws?
The controversial family protection bill (that would allow men to marry additional women without the consent of their first wife, among other issues) introduced to the seventh parliament actually came from the government--the judiciary and the president's office.
Semira N. Nikou
This is the third in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012:
- Iran’s first parliament was formed after the Constitutional Revolution in 1906. Its current parliament was created by a new constitution written after the 1979 revolution ousted the monarchy and established an Islamic republic. The first revolutionary parliament was elected in 1980. Iran has elected eight parliaments since then.
- Average voter turnout for the eight parliamentary elections has been 63 percent nationally. But in the past 15 years, the average for Tehran province—which includes the capital city—has been 44 percent, the lowest in the country.*
- Parliament originally had 270 seats but increased to 290 members in 2000. There may be another 20 seat increase for the 2012 elections.
- Citizens are not confined to voting for candidates from their own district and can cast their votes in any district (or province).
- Five seats are reserved for religious minorities—one seat each for Jews, Zoroastrians, and Assyrian-Chaldean Christians, and two seats for Armenian Christians.
- In 2008, a combination of conservatives and hardliners won more than 67 percent of seats, while reformists won around 18 percent. The rest ran as independents.
- Clerics now represent 14 percent of parliamentarians, a significant decline since they held half of the seats in the first parliament.*
- Eight women serve as deputies in the current parliament. The highest number of female MPS (14) and the highest proportion of female representatives (5 percent) were in 1996, when the total number of deputies was 270.*
- Ali Larijani is the current Speaker of Parliament. He is Iran’s former nuclear negotiator (2005-7). His brother, Sadegh Larijani, has been the judiciary chief since 2009. The Larijani family now controls two of the three branches of government.
- Only Iranian citizens living in Iran can vote in parliamentary elections—unlike presidential elections in which members of the diaspora can also vote.
* Source: Duality by Design: The Iranian Electoral System published by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
Interview with Seyed Hossein Mousavian
- What are the prospects, realistically, for progress this year in diplomatic efforts? What are the realistic options for a U.S.-Iran rapprochement?
- What conditions need to be met for negotiations to be successful? What does Iran need to do? What does the U.S. need to do?
- What would convince Iran to cooperate with the world’s six major powers?
- What steps could Iran take to build confidence?
- Commit not to enrich uranium above 5 percent during a period of confidence-building—as long as the international community sells it fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which uses 20 percent enriched fuel (Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, made this offer in February 2010.)
- Adhere to all international nuclear treaties at the maximum level of transparency and cooperation as defined by the IAEA.
- Take steps toward regional and international cooperation for enrichment activities within Iran.
- Limit enrichment activities to its actual fuel needs.
- Export all enriched uranium not used for domestic fuel production and refraining from reprocessing spent fuel from research reactors for a period of confidence building.
- Resolve all IAEA’s remaining technical issues within the “Modality Agreement” or “Work Plan” signed between ElBaradei and Larijani in 2007.
- What role does domestic politics play in Iran’s position?
- How will heightened sanctions against Iran—both economic and human rights --affect future negotiations?
- Russia has proposed a "step-by-step" proposal for nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. What are the prospects, realistically, for the Russian initiative?
- Iran’s full rights to enrichment
- Lifting of sanctions
- Removal of Iran’s nuclear file from the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors
Semira N. Nikou
The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
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