The clerics are all but dictating how the vote should go. Areas that vote as they are instructed will receive favorable programs after the election. To qualify for these programs, there must be a considerable voter turnout in the area, and the voters must select the regime’s approved candidates.
Prices for almost everything have risen as the rial has declined. Food prices are becoming a political problem, as has access to some basic food products.
Iran has taken extraordinary steps to prevent their version of the Arab Spring. Security forces and clergy have played an active role in preventing this.
There is rising unrest among the middle class. The more rural areas have been showing signs of unrest for several years, and they don’t always vote the way the clerics direct, as they tend to receive fewer economic benefits.
Shiite clergy have become more tolerant towards Sunni clergy in Iran, and they have been working with them to achieve goals outside Iran. Sunni influence has helped with Egypt and has been useful in continued conflict with Americans in Iran. It’s not just the Taliban upsetting the Afghan people over American actions in Iran. The burning of the Quran is the big one. Iran has been funneling funds to Sunni clergy in Afghanistan through the Sunni clerics in Iran. The goal is speed the reduction of NATO forces in Iran—and American forces in particular—before they can stabilize the more secular government structure in place now. An Islamic nation is not enough for Iran. They want an Afghanistan based on Islamic law again. That means they will assist the Taliban in regaining power.
The public has suffered from the economic sanctions. Fear of further sanctions in the near future are having a bigger effect. With rising unemployment and prices, the general public feels the current leadership is endangering Iran’s economic future.
The Iranians have had a hard time ensuring Hezbollah’s cooperation against Israel. Hezbollah wanted to take a more defensive position than Iran wanted, out of fear of Israel attacking Lebanon. To counter this, Iran is going to build up the Lebanese army for defensive purposes in order to encourage Hezbollah to once again become the offensive force Iran is paying it to be. Hezbollah will remain the major armed and political force in Lebanon.
If the Clerics and the Guard feel their hold on Iran is slipping due to American pressure, they will attack Israel. Anti Zionism and Anti Americanism are the two main tools the clerics have for keeping public support. When anyone tries to publicly suggest that Iran comply with the IAEA program in order to get the sanctions lifted, they are very quickly labelled a Zionist spy or American sympathizer and jailed—or worse. Many believe that the clerics will attack Israel before they allow themselves to lose their hold on Iran’s government.