Iranian Hardliners Win Parliamentary Poll

Zohreh, a 25-year-old supporter of the reformist camp, also voted in Narmak.

"I came out to support my nation, my country, and the pro-reform candidates I support," she told ABC News.

"Americans should know that our people love our country. I come and vote to support my country."

Different neighborhoods in Tehran, which vary sharply by socioeconomic level, saw varying turnouts.

"The most surprising thing to me [about the elections] was the low turnout in south Tehran, which is a generally poor area. I went to one polling station in southern Tehran that was practically empty," Barbara Slavin observed.

"I think there was more of a showing in middle class neighborhoods where people seem more engaged in the political process."

One 24-year-old in Tehran noted a particular voter apathy among the young. "I did not vote in the 8th parliamentary elections since nothing's going to change ... the Iranian people do not play any role in the country's political arena," she said, asking not to be identified even by her first name.

A 30-year-old male university student said, "I didn't get the chance to vote but I think that the most important issues come up after the elections. The elected MPs should address major problems facing the Iranian society including public welfare and prosperity."

The economy was the primary issue in Friday's election, especially for Iran's youth. The effect of international sanctions mixed with Ahmedinejad's economic policies are making basic necessities harder to provide and pushing home ownership out of reach for many Iranians. High unemployment is an ongoing problem and government statistics showed an inflation rate of 18 percent last year.


In the wake of the elections most Iranian are wishing for a better economy in the new year, hoping it will be easier to make ends meet.

"My hope for the year ahead is that the government will overcome the country's problems -- the kind of problems that exist in any country," said Zohreh, the pro-reform voter.

Mehrdad, a gray haired man in Tehran, wanted to see "the victory of Iran, the victory of Islam, understanding between the people of Iran and the United States."

Even with conservatives retaining power the coming years could see substantially varied outcomes in US-Iranian relations, depending on which conservatives determine foreign policy for the Islamic Republic.

"[Principalists] want a deal with the United States, but they want it on their terms," said Slavin. On Friday, the same day as the elections, Conservative Expediency Council chairman and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Iran was ready for talks with America over its nuclear program, but without pre-conditions called for by the United States.

"They want what the United States offered Communist China and the USSR in the 1970s: d├ętente and respect. Then they will sit down and negotiate," noted Slavin, author of the book "Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the Twisted Path to Confrontation."

"It won't be easy -- Iran is a fierce negotiator. But I believe they are very eager for this kind of relationship. I heard it two years ago when I was last here and I am hearing it now."

Farzaneh Esmaili in Tehran contributed to this article.

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