Iranians went to the polls in parliamentary elections today. With many reformists and opposition leaders not participating, the vote is a contest between hard-line supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Pressure from the West over Iran’s nuclear program has been a central issue. Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for AL-Monitor.com, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and the author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation.
Guests: Barbara Slavin: AL-Monitor.com, @barbaraslavin1
Also Vladamir Putin is almost certain to regain the presidency in elections in Russia on Sunday, but that victory may be more a reflection of voters’ resignation than broad support for his twelve-year rule. Putin, who has been suggesting Russia could walk away from the Start II treaty and is accusing Hillary Clinton of funding protests in his country, is heavily favored. Matthew Rojansky is Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Guests: Matthew Rojansky: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, @MatthewRojansky
AZADEH MOAVENI is a contributing writer on Iran and the Middle East for TIME magazine. She spent two years in Iran, from 2005 to 2007, and just returned from three weeks there at the first of the year. As one of the few American correspondents allowed to work continuously in Iran since 1999, she has reported widely on youth culture, women's rights, and Islamic reform for Time, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. She is author of LIPSTICK JIHAD and co-author, with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, of IRAN AWAKENING. Her newest book is HONEYMOON IN TEHRAN: TWO YEARS OF LOVE AND DANGER IN IRAN
In his 2002 State of the Union address George W. Bush coined the term "axis of evil" to describe his vision of North Korea, Iraq, and Iran. The US has a new president who has made a fairly big and controversial deal about his willingness to meet with Iran's leaders without preconditions. Iran's last presidential election in 2005 brought the world Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Another presidential election is coming soon to Iran.
AZADEH MOAVENI has spent a good deal of time in Iran since the year 2000 and written two books about Iranian society. I'll talk with her about life and politics behind the caricatures and rhetoric that so often clouds US perceptions of Iran.