By Farhad Daneshvar
Despite the fact that polling time in Iran ended 48 hours ago, heated debate between conservative and moderate newspapers still continue with claims of “decisive” victory.
While conservative and hardline newspapers claim making big gains across the country, the papers affiliated with moderates and reformists have concentrated on the overwhelming results achieved in Tehran in the first elections since the Islamic Republic clinched a nuclear deal with world powers.
Iranians voted on Friday in elections for the 290-seat parliament and the 88-seat Assembly of Experts, a powerful clerical body that appoints the country’s supreme leader.
Although the outcome of the polls in most of the cities remains unclear, according to the latest reports published by the interior ministry the List of Hope, a pro-Rouhani coalition of moderates and reformists has won a landslide victory in Tehran, securing the capital city’s all 30 seats in parliament.
Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani and his key ally Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani have already polled resounding vote for the Assembly of Experts with most ballots counted.
Therefore, it appears that several important conservative candidates from Tehran have failed to secure any seats in the clerical body and also parliament.
Conservatives claim victory
Nevertheless, the conservative and hardline media outlets have refused to make any mentions of the failed candidates insisting anti-Rouhani members will form the majority in the new parliament and the assembly.
“Iran voted in the favor of conservatives,” the hardline Vatan-e Emrouz newspaper claimed in a bold front page banner headline on Feb. 28.
“The outcome of the counting of the votes across the country suggests conservatives won securing 60 percent of the votes for parliament,” Vatan-e Emrouz added.
The hard-line daily Kayhan, which is seen by many as a mouthpiece for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also says the conservatives have gained a “decisive victory” in the elections across the country.
“Political experts and activists say the failure of the economic policies of the [Rouhani’s] administration and its lack of attention to address the livelihood problems of the nation caused the reformists’ defeat,” Keyhan added.
Moderates hail victory
In a striking contradiction, the reformist and moderate media have hailed the victory of the List of Hope suggesting the massive vote in the favor of pro-Rouhani candidates shows the nation’s support for the plans of the pragmatic Rouhani.
The Qanoon newspaper carried a front-page report announcing a “conclusive victory” of reformists and moderates allies of Rouhani in Tehran.
The Qanoon also carried a photo of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and Hassan Rouhani. A caption on the photo reads people voted in the favor of the presidents’ thoughts.
Reformist newspapers including Sharq and Ebtekar hailed the victory of the List of Hope in Tehran. Ebtekar went on to say the nation believed in moderates publishing a commentary headlined “people responded to hardliners by their votes”.
In its commentary, Ebtekar urged the President Rouhani’s administration to peruse his economic plans and improve the economic situation of the nation predicting the new parliament will back the president’s administration.
High turnout & sense of pride
Meanwhile IRIB, the Iranian public broadcaster, remained impartial in its dealing with the outcome of the elections.
There is a sense of pride on Iran’s state-run TV and radio channels broadcasting patriotic music videos adding color to rolling coverage of the high turnout of the nation in the elections, a move aimed at showing the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.
*Farhad Daneshvar is Trend Agency’s staff journalist, follow him on Twitter:@farhad_danesh