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High turnout in Iran elections could end 'paranoia' of leaders

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"Let us hope they will be happy. It will have benefits for everybody if the paranoia goes away, and they feel successful," says Ms. Farhi. "The problem within the context of Iranian politics is they keep saying, 'We have won,' and 'We have done well,' 'We showed them,' but then the political discourse continues to be quite paranoid about 'sedition' and the designs of the enemy, so it never seems enough."

How elections will shape Iran's future

Clarity about the results of the March 2 election has been in short supply; today journalists in Tehran who went to a Minister of Interior press conference to hear final results announced left empty-handed.

Hard-line loyalists of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are nevertheless reported by Iranian media to have gained 75 percent of the vote for the 290 seats in Iran's soaring, modern parliament building. 

When full results do emerge from a vote in which non-conservative opponents were banned, jailed, or under house arrest, the answers to two questions especially will shape Iran’s future political balance:

1) With this vote, has Iran's Islamic regime regained some of the popular legitimacy lost during the 2009 elections? In that vote, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reinstated for a second term with "divine" authority – and a bloody crackdown that crushed protests against fraud by millions of Iranians who took to the streets.

2) How will this vote affect the fortunes of Mr. Ahmadinejad: Will he be a lame duck after first losing his challenge last year to the authority of Ayatollah Khamenei, and now face an even more hostile parliament?

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