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Friday, June 7, 2013

Your guide to Iran's upcoming presidential "election"

Next week, voters in the Islamic Republic of Iran will be allowed to choose from one of eight candidates, all of whom had to be approved by its dictatorial Guardian Council.

These sham elections will result in Iran having a new president who has pre-committed to towing the line of Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

As ex-patriot Iranian democracy activist Sayeh Hassan notes, "not one eligible candidate has advocated for an end to the stoning of women and the public hanging of homosexuals...None have called for an independent investigation into the arrest, torture and murder of scores of Iranian political protestors in the wake of the last election. "

Mohammad-Reza Aref
Nonetheless, there are differences between the Iranian presidential candidates. Essentially, despite there being eight of them, the choices boil down to two. Seven of the candidates are essentially identical, all hardcore Islamist acolytes of Ali Khameini.

The one who stands apart from the rest is Mohammad-Reza Aref.  He was a minister in the disappointing government of Mohammad Khatami, who was supposed to be the reformer who would bring a new liberalism to Iran. That, of course, never happened. Khatami was no liberal in the western sense of the word, and those efforts he made at alleviating the repressive rule of the Islamic dictatorship was stymied by the ruling Ayatollahs of the Guardian Council through their vicious enforcers, the Revolutionary Guard, along with their urban militia of thugs, the Basij.

Aref too is no liberal democrat, but he is not pathologically hostile to the West, nor ideologically committed to terrorism, like his predecessor, the lunatic Holocaust-denier, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

What happens following next week's election will not likely make a huge difference in how the west deals with Iran in the near future. No matter who has the most votes, the election is a meaningless pretense at democracy that will leave Ali Khameini and his Guardian Council still pulling the strings of power in the Islamic Republic.

But if, by some chance, Aref is elected, it may serve as a catalyst for a popular uprising against the totalitarian Ayatollahs. Let us hope that should that happen, US President Obama does not betray democracy by failing to support them as he failed them in Iran's last attempt at a "green revolution."

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