Feb 23, 2020 - World

Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian supreme leader press office/handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election reached only 42.57%, according to Iran's Interior Ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

  • The landslide victory for hardliners will make capturing the presidency in 2021 even easier.

The big picture: More than 7,000 potential parliamentary candidates were disqualified from running, most of them reformists and moderates.

  • Among those disqualified were 90 sitting members of the country's 290-seat Islamic Consultative Assembly who were running for re-election.

What they're saying: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei early Sunday accused foreign “propaganda” of dissuading people from voting by spreading fear of the coronavirus, which has infected at least 43 people and killed eight.

Go deeper: Iran's hardliners look to consolidate control in parliamentary election

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Iran's supreme leader refuses U.S. offer of coronavirus aid

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday refused assistance from the United States to help fight the coronavirus outbreak in his country, citing a conspiracy theory that accuses the U.S. military of developing and spreading the virus, AP reports.

Why it matters: Iran has reported more than 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,600 deaths, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. Its economy was already in free-fall mostly due to sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowMar 22, 2020 - World

Iran clamps down on information as coronavirus spreads

Taking precaution in Tehran. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty

Iran’s coronavirus outbreak has reached the upper echelons of power, and ordinary citizens fear that the information filtering down can’t be trusted.

Why it matters: Iran has the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of China, with 3,513 confirmed cases and 107 deaths. But experts fear the real numbers are much higher, and that the government’s instinct to control information and prevent fear undermined hopes of containing it.

Go deeperArrowMar 6, 2020 - World

Why coronavirus could help stalled efforts to expand voting options

Photo: Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The coronavirus could make it harder for some U.S. voters to cast ballots this year, but that threat can be a catalyst for election changes that have previously met partisan resistance, elections law expert Trevor Potter said in an interview with "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Congress and state and local elections officials are looking for ways to protect voters in remaining primaries and even the general election.

Go deeperArrowMar 15, 2020 - Health