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Rubin Reports

Breaking: Reformist Candidate Wins Big in Iran’s Election

June 15th, 2013 - 8:21 pm

Hasan Rowhani, the only reformist candidate allowed in Iran’s presidential election, has won a landslide victory. There won’t even need to be a second, run-off round since he won over 50 percent of the vote.

If this was a regime maneuver to portray Iran as suddenly moderate, it seems to be working. Around the globe, mass media outlets are  claiming that Iran has been transformed and now is the time for the West to show patience or make concessions.

Consider this: A stronger man and a more dedicated reformer and moderate than Rowhani, Muhammad Khatami, was president for eight years and did not accomplish a single reform under this regime. Khatami, according to what is being claimed now, broke the power of the radical regime in 1997. That was 16 years ago. And yet the radical regime is still there.

Did the Tehran regime put in a seemingly moderate but actually helpless or compliant front so it could claim moderation and thus stall for time to build nuclear weapons? Or did he masses simply overwhelmed the regime so that his victory was undeniable? Perhaps the regime figured that a second straight election stolen by the regime from the reformists–the previous one was in 2009–would set off a revolt.

New York Times‘ reporter Thomas Erdbrink,  reported that Tehran has turned into a massive street celebration. The police and militia vigilantes stayed off the streets, where pop songs ruled instead of regime dress standards. People chanted, Erdbrink tweeted, “We are celebrating that we are free after 8 years of Ahmadinejad.”

Since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei congratulated Rowhani, it appears that the rulers have accepted his victory and that he will not be denied office.

No matter what the regime’s intentions are, the outcome will be this:

1. Rowhani will have little power. Remember that a moderate already served eight years as president and accomplished nothing. Rowhani is clearly loyal to the regime or he wouldn’t have been the only reformist candidate who was approved for the election by the regime.

2. A lot of Iranians will be very happy. One big thing they will hope for is better management of the economy.

3. There will be many analysts and politicians and government officials saying that since Iran has now turned in a moderate direction, it must be given a chance to show whether this is true. Rowhani is a very articulate and glib man. He will know how to make things look good in Washington, especially compared to Ahmadinejad’s outrageously radical style.

4. Therefore, the Obama administration will spend the rest of 2013 in exploratory negotiations as Iran moves forward toward nuclear weapons. People will talk about gestures toward Iran, like reducing sanctions and certainly not increasing them. Russia, Turkey, and China will continue to get waivers on sanctions.

5.  This will have no effect on the U.S. policy in Syria of giving weapons to rebels.

6. What will this mean for the Green Movement (i.e., the reformist forces), some of whom have been put under house arrest? These were the people from whom the 2009 election was stolen. Would Rowhani be like the sincerely reformist president Muhammad Khatami who, despite real efforts, had no successes in his eight years in office?

Many analysts — including me — cynically suggested that the election would be once again fixed so a regime candidate would win. In retrospect, of course, this was wrong. In hindsight, perhaps it was a tip-off — if the regime wanted Rowhani to win — that it let in several regime supporters who took votes from each other. In the end, though, it didn’t matter. The key decision was to allow an honest tally of votes.

At any rate, while the Iran regime has not changed policy really, many will think it has done so. If the regime really wanted to change its aggressive and nuclear-oriented policy, it would have put into power a regime supporter who would announce a new set of positions. All of these questions about Iranian politics and foreign policy will have to be seriously evaluated now.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Rowhani is the Supreme Leaders choice- a bone thrown to the people and a negotiating point- nothing more.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
President Rowhani was a negotiator for Iran's nuclear program- there is a picture of him and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani talking (AL another Iranian nuclear program(s) negotiator. Then Supreme Leader Khamenei met Rowhani for 'talks'. Iran right now is bleeding financially- swabbing oil for electricity with Armenia (presstv.ir). Now Pres.Obama is ready to engage in direct talks with new Iranian President over nuclear program (AFP/Washington)- UK,France,Germany et al (read EU)are oohing and aahing to start bilateral/multilateral negotiations with Iran's moderate President at the helm. To be nice- let's say that Iranian mullahs are winning at the poker table 'big time'. Sweden is trying to say- a reformer/moderate in Iran's politics is not the same as in Europe. On top of that Obama is ready to negotiate with North Korea over its nuclear program with a proviso (UN sanctions reasons to be addressed).Professor Rubin- keep enlightening the American populace of relying too much in mirages.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Finally someone who understands Iranian duplicity- leave it up to Barry Rubin. The press is falling all over themselves to declare a great victory for moderation though it was obvious from the start that all of the candidates were regime stooges.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems obvious to me that a 'moderate' figurehead will make Iran's nuclear program easier to advance. Ajad making crazy threats certainly put people on notice even when they chose to ignore it. If the founding organization of Islamism can be painted as moderate then those with special needs to convince themselves that Iran is now moderate will soon be able to see clearly that Iran's acquisition of Nukes is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Indeed my 'Inner Tom Friedman' is already penning an editorial about 'the great opportunity the president now has to reach out....' Well, you know the rest.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh yeah...an Iranian "reformist" who is duly controlled by the Supreme Leader! What a load of hooey and phooey, and no one who knows anything about Iranian dynamics believes it, least of all those under his boot!

To be sure, the mullahs think they are in the cat bird's seat as Russia is joined at their hip, the wayward Commander-in-Chief is AWOL, and Jerusalem dithers, but knows full well that a hammer blow is mandatory. In any case, this is where things pretty much stand - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/05/30/war-drums-blaring-the-commander-in-chief-is-awol-russia-in-charge-irans-axis-ascendant-israel-left-dangling-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

The region is about to blow apart....batten down the hatches...

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I won't pretend that what I believe about Iran has much chance of being true because I simply don't know enough about it. But my impression, for what little it is worth, is that elections there are much like student council elections in High Schools in America. The candidates can run on whatever kind of platforms they want and get elected by them, but they can't do one damn thing in reality unless the School Principal allows it in fact. Not one little thing at all.

It reminds me of the High School I attended way back in time where in reality everything that was not prohibited was mandatory.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
This may have significance if Khatami were to become ill and either became ineffective or had to resign. Then there might be the possibility of a shake-up. Otherwise I don't see this election making much difference to Iranian policy at all. Hence, their internal economy will continue to deteriorate and limp.

Khatami is old and everyone dies, so there's some hope here.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great relief ! But the story is just commencing. In a Islamic political climate I can hardly imagine a democratically (?) elected candidate's triumph to incumbency deliver his represented platform or anything. Will religious culture defeat the political aspirations of the incumbent? The world has to hold its breath for another eight years. (?) Hands together upwards.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the underlying realities are the same, a regime that on the surface appears and pretends to be more moderate to naive and willing apologists is actually much more dangerous than one that appears to be more radical.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just made this post over in Rick Moran's entry in the Tattler...

"What difference does it make? Khamenei is still in charge. No matter what this new guy tries to do it still has to be cleared through him. Then there's the Guardian Council and their equivalent of a Parliament. They've had reform presidents in before and it didn't make a bit of difference. So long as it stays an Islamic Republic nothing will change. The Mullahs have to go before the people have anything near like freedom.

2009 was their best chance and Obambi blew it for them. Just a word of encouragement and a little bit of help and we wouldn't be worrying about what this guy is going to do but no, Obambi had to keep his mouth shut for once when it would have made a world of difference. "

Tomorrow the Basiji and the Morality Police will be back on the streets, things will go back to "normal", the people will realize they've been suckered again and they will start saying things will be different in 2017. Things won't change but the people will still hope and we'll go through this same thing all over again.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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