‘We consider these elections to be unfair, but have decided to take part because our participation is more productive than our absence,’ Karoubi said. ‘If we get or do not get votes, we will continue our activities. The future of reforms depends on the people, and they will continue through different means.’

Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour of the Reformist Coalition for Iran insists that even to win one of the 290 seats that are being fought over would be a victory for the reformists. ‘We will be a minority in parliament,’ he said. ‘There is such a disproportion, and the conservatives have mobilised far more means than us – so even if we have just one seat, we will have a victory and will have foiled the plans of the conservatives,’ he said.

Although he had been cleared to run for election, Mohtashamipour is one of an estimated 550 candidates who voluntarily pulled out of the polls on 14 February in protest.