There are no genuine moderates among Iran’s ruling elites. Nonetheless, the Washington establishment keeps pretending that there are. The idea that Rouhani is a moderate is the most laughable manifestation of this, as I show in my forthcoming book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran.
“The search for elusive Iranian moderates,” by Clifford D. May, Washington Times, March 8, 2016:
…In last month’s elections, Iranians cast ballots for the Majles. Candidate had to have been approved by the Guardian Council and those seen as reformists or moderates were disqualified. Legislation passed by the Majles must pass muster with the Guardian Council as well.
Iranians also voted for the Assembly of Experts, clerics whose most important responsibility will be to choose the next supreme leader following the death of Ayatollah Khamenei, who is 76 and said to be in poor health. Candidates for this body, too, must have Guardian Council approval — which means reformists and moderates need not apply.
Nevertheless, as noted by Saeed Ghasseminejad, my colleague at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, numerous media reports have made it appear that “disqualified reformists somehow rose from the dead and dominated the elections. The results, however, show that in the Assembly of Experts, the radicals won 75 percent of the seats while the rest were shared by independents and the pragmatic alliance led by Rouhani and ex-presidents Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami.”
Mr. Rouhani, you may recall, was elected president in 2013, four years after a blatantly rigged presidential election led to a mass uprising that was ruthlessly suppressed. Then, as now, Mr. Rouhani was widely praised for his supposed moderation. Britain’s Guardian newspaper predicted that Iran was “on the brink of an extraordinary political transformation.” In truth, the human rights situation has only grown worse and support for terrorists abroad has increased. Mr. Rouhani was never the supreme leader’s rival. He has been instead the supreme leader’s loyal servant and adviser.
We can surmise that he has counseled the supreme leader to adopt a policy of strategic patience, building Iran’s economic and military strength at a time when he perceives — not without justification — increasing European and American weakness.
The nuclear deal should be seen in this light. It brings the regime front-loaded benefits in return for a pledge to delay — not end — the nuclear weapons program whose existence the regime has never acknowledged.
So are there no moderates in Iran? On the contrary, there’s every reason to believe that most Iranians view Americans kindly, are tired of being ruled by firebrand divines, would rather not see Iranian oil wealth lavished on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, and would welcome more freedom.
But most Iranians are powerless. Despite what much of the media has been telling you, Iran’s elections haven’t changed that — and never will. The Islamic Republic of Iran is not very republican; its version of Islam is Khomeinist — repressive, aggressive and implacably anti-American….