The Iranians go to the polls on Friday to elect a successor to President Hassan Rouhani, the reformist leader whose second term is drawing to a close.
Rouhani was one of the main architects of the 2015 nuclear deal that saw Iran agree to limit its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
The vote comes at a time of tension over the deal.
Then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions against Tehran.
Iran has responded by gradually decreasing its respect for the agreement, to which it remains a signatory.
The other current signatories are the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia and China.
European parties to the deal, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have been striving to reinstate it since Washington’s withdrawal.
France, Germany, the UK and the European Union have sought to mitigate the effect of the reapplied sanctions on Tehran, but with limited success.
However, hopes of saving the JCPOA have recently increased thanks to the elevation of US President Joe Biden to the White House.
Biden wants to resurrect the deal and even extend its terms, and several rounds of indirect US-Iran negotiations have taken place.
The talks are not straightforward as Iran refuses face-to-face meetings, but the United States has had discussions with many participants.
Now all eyes are on Iran.
Will the result of Friday’s poll affect the future of the pact?
Here’s what you need to know:
What is Tehran’s current position on the JCPOA?
Although internal differences remain, it appears that different political factions in Iran have come to a common understanding that the reinstatement of the nuclear deal is necessary to lift the harsh sanctions that have affected all aspects of the country’s economy.
Tory candidate Ebrahim Raisi, widely regarded as the frontrunner, said in a recent televised election debate that he would honor the nuclear deal, adding that he plans to form a “strong” government to steer it in the right direction. direction.
Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran’s top foreign and nuclear policy maker, said Tehran would revert to the deal once the United States shows it will honor its commitments under the deal.
Iran has said it wants “all” of the roughly 1,500 sanctions imposed, reimposed or relabelled during the Trump era to be removed, after which it will spend an indefinite amount of time verifying that they were lifted in action.
He also wants a guarantee that the United States will not unilaterally leave the agreement in the future, although it is not clear what form that guarantee will take.
The Islamic Republic has expressed willingness to return to its own commitments under the JCPOA, but has not publicly announced how it could be done or exactly how long it would take, and is against expanding the original agreement. .
Earlier this week, Iran’s top negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, said the country wants a “good” deal that will serve its interests and that is not rushed.
He previously warned that Iran would immediately withdraw from the talks if it considers the other parties are not serious about the talks.
Will the election affect this?
The six presidential candidates, including a moderate, supported the continuation of negotiations aimed at relaunching the pact.
So the result should not change Tehran’s current position – trying to resuscitate the deal.
The same goes for Khamenei, who has ultimate authority over Tehran’s position on the issue.
“Sanctions relief is something that the [Iranian] system as a whole research, ”Sanam Vakil, deputy director and senior researcher for the Middle East and North Africa program at UK think tank Chatham House, told Al Jazeera.
“So I don’t see the process being affected [by the Iranian election] unless the United States refuses to compromise on sanctions relief, ”she said.
Where is the United States and what have signatories like China and Russia said about the pact?
Under Biden, the United States expressed interest in restoring the JCPOA.
His administration sees the relaunch of the deal as a stepping stone to a broader deal – one that places tighter limits on Iran’s nuclear program and covers missile testing as well as several other issues. For its part, Iran has said it does not want to expand the deal.
The other signatories to the pact are keen to bring the United States back to the deal and ensure Iran’s compliance with its terms.
The European powers have repeatedly pushed their ally, Washington, to return to the agreement.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that he supports Iran’s “reasonable demands” on the future of the deal, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow, an ally of the Iran hoped for a full restoration of the agreement to its original conditions.
The Russian and Chinese envoys joined representatives from the UK, France, Germany, the EU and Iran itself in talks to salvage the deal.