The moderate-reformist groups have gained some ground in Iran’s elections for parliament and the powerful Assembly of Experts, according to the count of approximately one-third of the votes - but not enough to change the balance of power in Tehran or challenge the dominance of the hard-line conservatives and radical clerics, headed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards. Partial returns indicate that the moderates led by President Hassan Rouhani and former president Hashem Rafsanjani may raise their current 20 seats they hold in the 283 Majlis seats to 50. The independents did better, gaining one third of the votes, but since some are followers of the former president Ahmadinejad, they cant be counted to side with the moderates. The Ministry of Interior has promised final results on March 1.

See DEBKAfile Analysis.