Iran after the nuclear deal: Change we can't believe in

Amin Tarzi, the director of Middle East studies at Marine Corps University, told me Tuesday that “the vast majority of Rouhani’s candidates have been disqualified.” While Rouhani himself has said he will appeal these decisions, Tarzi does not anticipate most of these disqualifications will be overturned.

“Because of Khamenei’s health, the factions in Iran that are loyal to the Revolutionary Guard do not want to take the chance that the next supreme leader will not be one of them,” Tarzi told me. “They don’t want Rouhani and his faction to benefit from the fruits of the nuclear deal. The gloves are off now.”

This is particularly bad news for Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry is hoping that Rouhani’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, will have the flexibility to reach a political agreement to stop the fighting in Syria in Obama’s final year. But a parliamentary election that empowers radicals will not help. If anything, it will embolden the elements in Iran’s state that want to humiliate the U.S. and their domestic rivals who struck the bargain with the Great Satan in the first place.