15 June 2013

A small sign of hope

Iran's Presidential election yields a startling result -- moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani wins in a landslide (he got 51% of the vote, but that's out of a field of six candidates).  Andrew Sullivan has a round-up of reactions -- Rouhani's background suggests there's some hope of an opening-up to the West and perhaps even concessions on the nuclear-bomb program.

I'm not getting my hopes up too much.  Rouhani is a moderate, but still a cautious member of the religious establishment; and in any case the greatest portion of power in Iran rests with the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, not with the President.  But any sign of moderation in the ghastly theocratic tyranny ruling the Middle East's potentially most influential country has to be welcomed, including the fact that this time the ayatollahs either did not or could not steal the election for a hard-line candidate.  Remember, too, that the Soviet regime fell as a result of cautious reforms which escaped the control of the authorities who had initiated them.  One way or another, a regime so alien to Iran's real character cannot last.

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