Good news from Iran

June 16th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Moderate cleric Hassan Rohani won ’s presidential election today, the interior ministry said, scoring a surprising landslide victory over conservative hardliners without the need of a second round run-off.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar announced on state television that Rohani secured just over 50 percent of the ballot based on a 72 percent turnout of 50 million eligible voters. “Mr Hassan Rohani … got the absolute majority of votes and was elected as president,” Najjar said.

The outcome will not soon transform Iran’s long tense relations with the West, call into question its disputed pursuit of nuclear power or lessen its support of Syria’s president in the civil war there – matters of national security that remain the domain of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

This doesn’t mean a radical change of policy. The Supreme Leader remains in charge. But it does mean a President who is not as offensive as his predecessor.

Though an establishment figure, Rohani is a former chief nuclear negotiator known for his nuanced, conciliatory approach. He has pledged to promote a policy of “constructive interaction with the world” and to enact a domestic “civil rights charter”.

Rohani’s wide margin revealed a broad reservoir of pro-reform sentiment with many voters, undaunted by restrictions on candidate choice and campaign rallies, seizing the chance to repudiate the dominant hardline elite over Iran’s economic woes, international isolation and crackdowns on social freedoms.

The fact he won on the first ballot is a good sign of strength for the reform movement. Over 36 million Iranians voted and he got 50.7% of the vote, with the next two candidates getting 16.6% and 11.4% respectively.

10 Responses to “Good news from Iran”

  1. s.russell (2,084 comments) says:

    I’d like to believe that this is good news, but I suspect the reality is that Rohani is just slightly less hardline than the other candidates – all of whom were vetted and approved by the Supreme Council. The cynic in me suspects that the whole exercise was stage managed to produce a result that would not create a revolt: a very clever manipulation of the system and the voters. It is not as if Rohani was someone Khameni did not want, or he would not have been on the ballot. I hope I am wrong, and he will actually engineer some meaningful reform, but I am not going to hold my breathy for anything more than cosmetic gestures.

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  2. Psycho Milt (3,375 comments) says:

    It says a lot about the Iranian political system that journos can refer to someone like Rohani as “moderate.”

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  3. kowtow (13,226 comments) says:

    Yeah ,good news in the sense that Hitler is dead but his slightly less offensive deputy has taken over.

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  4. dime (13,016 comments) says:

    what happened to the planet of the apes guy?

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  5. hmmokrightitis (1,919 comments) says:

    Wonder if this means their hilarious stealth fighter efforts will cease.

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  6. Manolo (22,058 comments) says:

    Just a lesser degree of craziness. Nonetheless, the new president is another crackpot.

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  7. simonway (507 comments) says:

    I heard from an Afghan woman who grew up in Iran that she preferred the “conservative” candidates over the “moderate” ones because the moderates stoked xenophobia and racism against Afghans, whereas the conservatives, being more religious, took an “Islam has no borders” approach.

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  8. Yoza (3,053 comments) says:

    As long as the Iranian people refuse to allow puppets of the West – such as those who rule Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen – there will never be an ‘acceptable’ candidate.

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  9. jackkerouacsnephew (27 comments) says:

    yes but Rohani is powerless against the mad cleric ,lets hope that someone shoots the suprewms mad cleric between his eyes

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  10. ChardonnayGuy (1,605 comments) says:

    Rohani may not be as liberal as he seems to western well-wishers. And even his conservative clerical backers appear to have finally realised former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was risking everything that the Shia Islamic Republic had built up over the last thirty years with his insane populist brinksmanship with Israel and the West. As one ex-Iranian friend of mine said to me “Ahmadinejad is Farsi for George W.Bush.”

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