Year of Elections: What to expect from Iran's coming elections

This is the first time Iranians are going to polls since the 2022 protests over Mahsa Amini's death

Iran, a country of 90 million people, will go to the polls on March 1 in the 12th legislative election the Islamic Republic has held since its founding in 1979.

Voting will take place as the government is at the centre of ideological battles at home, in the Middle East and on the international stage.

A wave of protests swept the country from September 2022 and lasted well into spring the following year after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran’s religious police on suspicion of not wearing a headscarf properly.

Although the protest movement has subsided, many inside Iran say the relationship the country’s young people have with the state – particularly that of young women – has changed irreversibly.

Two former presidents have already described these elections as neither free nor fair and authorities are worried that the aftermath of the protests, widespread dissatisfaction with the economy and general disenchantment with the country’s system of governance will result in the lowest turnout the Islamic Republic has seen.

In this episode of Year of Elections, The National’s opinion editor Sulaiman Hakemy looks into all of that with Arash Azizi, a senior lecturer in history and political science at Clemson University, South Carolina, and Milad Dokhanchi, a renowned cultural critic and entrepreneur.

Updated: February 26, 2024, 3:04 PM