Hardliners favored by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swept Iran’s parliamentary elections on Friday after the disqualification of thousands of moderate and conservative candidates by the nation’s Guardian Council, which reports directly to Khamenei.

However, the economic crisis in the country could force the regime to negotiate with the United States despite ruling out talks unless sanctions are lifted, Reuters reported on Saturday.

The parliament does not hold real power in the country, which is strictly under Khamenei’s control.

Many voters decided not to cast their ballots due to the country’s economic situation, and the U.S. pressure on oil exports may force Iranians back to the negotiating table, according to the report.

Tensions remain high between the United States and Iran, especially since a U.S. drone killed Iranian Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq on Jan. 3

An Iranian official that asked not to be named told Reuters that “hardliners are eyeing the presidency” in a presidential election scheduled for next year.

“A victory by hardliners in the presidential election, combined with growing economic hardship, might open a new chapter between Iran and America,” the official said.

“Remaining in power is the main concern for Iran’s top leader. Securing the existence of the Islamic Republic mainly depends on improving the economy,” said another senior official, close to the hardline camp, according to the report.

Candidates affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps did well in Friday’s election.

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