Hassan ‘The Facilitator’ Rouhani Wins Iran Election

Provided a second term not by the people but the ruling elite, Hassan Rouhani is merely another tear of the cloth known as the Islamic Republic of Iran. He provided the grounds needed for Tehran to go “ahead with multiple ballistic missile tests, fired rockets close to American warships in international waters, revealed a new missile bunker, assumed an intransigent posture with respect to a full accounting of past nuclear research, sanctioned the capture of American sailors and the harassing of our ships in the Gulf, and dispatched Iranian agents to Germany in search of nuclear technology,” as explained by the Financial Times.

There are also signs of Rouhani’s initiatives inflicting permanent damage to the mullahs’ rule. Through the course of his campaign trail Rouhani raised the stakes of his ousting by the senior ruling clerics, unveiling secrets of the regime’s dark history and pledges he obviously has no intention, let alone ability, to meet.

Rouhani’s practices have already sidelined the regime’s higher ranks, and considering the rigged nature of Iran’s voter turnout numbers, he is on course to disappoint the dismal few who actually did vote for him. As seen in the past 38 years, the road ahead with Rouhani as Iran’s president — a puppet of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — will prove the fact that reform from within in Iran is nothing but a hoax.

Rouhani is known to be the first Iranian regime official to openly call for public executions in order to inflict a graver influence on the general public and impose a certain climate of fear to quell dissent.

“Conspirators should be hanged in Friday prayers for people to see them and to have more of an impact,” he said on July 14th, 1980.

At an “election” rally Rouhani went as far as emphasizing that “the people will say no to those who over the course of 38 years only executed and jailed.” This is considered a clear reference to Ebrahim Raisi, his then conservative rival known for his notorious role in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners across the country.

While Raisi played a leading part, Rouhani, then a member of the regime’s so-called parliament, was fully informed of the atrocities in the regime’s dungeons and remained through the course, and to this day. Ever since, the Iranian regime has portrayed the issue as a taboo and no-man’s land in order to maintain a lid on it.

And yet a major campaign is ongoing inside the country and abroad, with brave activists rising to the challenge and demanding answers about the regime’s atrocities in general, especially the executions of the entire 1980s.

Rouhani also served as Iran’s secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for decades and orchestrated the horrific crackdown of the 1999 student uprising, a prelude of the 2009 nationwide outburst. Rouhani has also boasted how he deceived the European Troika in in the 2003 nuclear talks, providing Iran the opportunity to maintain their nuclear program, only to expel UN inspectors in 2005 and relaunch the regime’s nuclear weapons drive with firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.

More recently, Rouhani is also supervising the regime’s ongoing need to maintain a certain degree of domestic crackdown. Over 3,000 people were sent to the gallows during Rouhani’s first term, and ironically, his minister of justice has been none other than Mostafa Pourmohammadi, another member in the four-man commission overseeing the 1988 massacre.

While Rouhani in the elections surprisingly warned the Revolutionary Guards not to interfere in the regime’s so-called election process, his first term provided the platform of the Guards expanded their reach across the region. Rouhani’s remarks just two days after the election façade are quite interesting.

He “pledged the mullahs’ regime will continue their warmongering in the Middle East, adding they are on the ground in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon… ‘Iran has and will support these efforts through its diplomats and military advisors’,” he said according to a statement released by Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Considering the fact that Rouhani lacks the ability or will to realize any change in Tehran’s foundations and conduct, measures are now needed to correctly confront the mullah’s flagrant human rights violations, expanding ballistic missile program, and support for terrorism, extremism and meddling in other states.

The recent Arab Islamic American Summit sent such a necessary message to this regime.

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The Outlook Of Rouhani’s Second Term As Iran’s President

The incumbent Hassan Rouhani has been selected, not elected, to a second-term as the mullahs’ president in Iran. At 12:30 pm local time reports from inside Iran announced the near final results, claiming nearly 40 million casted their ballots, with around 23 million voting for Rouhani and 15.5 million for his main challenger Ebrahim Raisi, a senior cleric known for his close relations with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and believed by many to be his preferred candidate for the role.

With Rouhani set to start a second term, his promises of improving the economy and the human rights situation, will be placed to test. His first tenure, however, was riddled with many un-kept pledges, following a history of Iranian presidents failing to deliver on highly boasted promises.

Rouhani’s first four years were engulfed with nothing but mounting executions – over 3,000 to be exact – and an intense crackdown campaign, rampaging poverty and injustice in the domestic stage; and intensifying foreign meddling and skyrocketing military/security budgets alongside efforts to advance the regime’s ballistic missile drive.

Rouhani in his second term will most likely continue the same policies and attempts of deceptive measures aimed at obtaining further concessions from the West. Of course, considering the recent change of guards in Washington, the mullahs’ regime should not anticipate any of the success they secured during the Obama years.

The most important impact of another four years of Rouhani as president is the beginning of a highly intensified power struggle and intense dispersion amongst the regime’s ranks and files. Such a phenomenon has the potential of launching a major outburst from Iran’s powder keg society as the people will realize the potential of growing rifts amongst the regime’s senior hierarchy. This upsurge in energy will be targeting the regime in its entirety and leading to its end.

This election, with this outcome, has been an utter failure for the regime apparatus as a whole, and an even more significant defeat for Khamenei himself. The Iran populace showing a general neglect of this election façade and the nationwide boycott is a clear indication of their desire for regime change and an end to the mullahs’ theocracy.

On Friday the regime resorted to a known tactic of flocking its dwindling social base to a certain number of polling stations in Tehran and other major cities, and herding foreign journalists through a preplanned tour of only a handful of such sites to prove its claim of a high voter turnout.

Throughout the day, however, dissident activists from across the country took to social media and posted reports, images and video clips of vacant polling stations. This provided a true window into the reality that the mullahs seek to cloak and resort to desperate measures in this regard. Despite this effort, the semi-official Fars news agency was forced to acknowledge the low voter turnout.

Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), fearing escalating popular protests, failed to finalize their election engineering endeavor of pulling their preferred rabbit, here being Raisi, out of their elections hat. Public hatred and abhorrence of Raisi for his notorious role in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners – victims comprising mostly of members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) – reached such a climax that even many senior Khamenei faction figures refused to place their weight behind his drive.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), known as the main Iranian opposition coalition, was behind a massive election boycott campaign in cities across Iran.

“The sole solution for the mullahs in Iran is through regime change. The international community and Middle East states should adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis Tehran,” said NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mohammad Mohaddessin.

“This regime cannot and must not enjoy further impunity despite the crimes it has committed inside its own borders and abroad. The IRGC deserves to be designated as a foreign terrorist organization and regime officials must face justice for their crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is high time for the world to acknowledge the Iranian people’s demand for an end to the mullahs’ rule after nearly four decades of suffering.”

As Rouhani’s first term resulted in a curb of the nuclear program, there is talk about Khamenei succumbing to a second term for Rouhani paving the path for the international community to demand Iran significantly downgrade its meddling across the Middle East and rein in the ballistic missile program.

Rouhani reaching a second term proves the fact that Khamenei, being the final arbiter in his regime especially on national security and foreign affairs, could not overlook the general population launching widespread protests in the months leading to the election. This outrage has undoubtedly raised alarm bells amongst the regime’s senior ranks, echoing the threat of a possible 2009-scenario repeat that rattled the regime’s very foundation.

Through the course of the past few weeks Khamenei had repeatedly warned and emphasized on the importance of “security.” His resort to a second term for Rouhani can be interpreted as his acknowledgement of the Iranian people’s utter hatred of the entire regime apparatus.

The stage is now set for the international community to correct its failed 38-year long approach on Tehran. The will of the Iranian people, voiced by their organized opposition represented by the NCRI, should be taken into account. This will be the correct platform to bring an end to nearly four decades of Iran’s threats and violence.

Iran Presidential Elections Heating As People Denounce Entire Façade

As we wind down to the final stretch of Iran’s presidential “election” campaign, with polls scheduled for May 19th and a possible run-off for May 26th, tensions are rising as senior Iranian regime officials are taking gloves off and resorting to unprecedented remarks.

“We are here to tell pro-violence extremists that your era has come to an end,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said recently. “You [hardliners] cannot stand against our youth’s choice of freedom and progress… This month, the nation will once again reject those whose main decisions have only been executions and imprisonments over the past 38 years,” Rouhani added in an event in Hamedan, a city in western Iran.

The so-called “moderate” Rouhani is using these remarks to meet the challenge raised by the “hardline” candidates. Such distinctions in Iranian politics are highly flawed, covering a topic outside the range of this piece.

Interesting irony lies in the fact that Rouhani is making such arguments, appealing at a first glance, while over 3,000 executions have been carried out during his tenure of the past four years alone. Rouhani is also known to have been the first Iranian official to call for public executions at Friday prayers to further the influence of the regime’s domestic repression apparatus.

“Conspirators should be hanged in Friday prayers for people to see them and to have more of an impact,” he said on July 14th, 1980.

More recently, on April 18th Rouhani also boasted how under his tenure the “defense budget increased 145% from the days of 2013 and … the amount of strategic equipment and other necessities provided to the armed forces in the past 3 years equaled that of the past 10 years.”

Rouhani’s strong rhetoric were interpreted as an unusually strong indication of Ebrahim Raisi, a cleric of the faction loyal to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Raisi is known for his three-decade long role in Iran’s so-called judiciary and signing off the executions of thousands of dissidents in the 1980s, especially the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners involving mostly members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

In response, Khamenei delivered a stark warning on Wednesday cautioning any “disruptors” of the upcoming polls of a “slap in the face.” This highlights the volume of political turmoil involved in the May 19th vote, to say the least.

Khamenei took advantage of a speech broadcasted widely to an audience of Revolutionary Guards graduates as he underscored the significance of security being the far more important matter in these elections. City and village council members are also set to be determined on this day.

Khamenei also banned the candidates from any mentioning of the 1988 massacre, as explained in a recent Iranian opposition statement.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, a cabinet post known to be appointed by the Supreme Leader himself, also delivered a report claiming his agents had foiled at least one plot aiming to instigate disruptions.

Alavi’s more important remarks came in claiming, without elaborating, his apparatus apprehending “suspected members of an Iranian opposition exile group,” according to The Washington Post.

The entire regime is terrified over a 2009-scenario repeat where Iranians in the thousands poured into the streets demanding their God given rights. Such concerns have transformed all “elections” into delicate moments for the regime.

This is exactly why Khamenei used his Wednesday speech to remind all of his determination that any party seeking to “take any measure against the country’s security in the election” will be dealt with accordingly.

These remarks are in response to a variety of different activities and measures staged by Iranians in cities across the country, which unfortunately mainstream media in the West, especially, have chosen to ignore.

In response to a call posted on the PMOI/MEK website, youths have dared the risks and threats of arrest, torture and definite execution to publicly express their views about the regime. Members of the PMOI/MEK network inside in Iran are seen placing images of the banned opposition.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, the most organized and known Iranian opposition, has been banned from all political activities since 1981. Any support in Iran for the NCRI and PMOI/MEK is punishable by death, showing the bravery of these acts.

The Twitter hashtag #MyVoteRegimeChange has also been widely welcomed by both Iranians inside the country and the vast diaspora abroad. This is the very movement senior Iranian officials, and their entire regime for that matter, fear the most and seek to quell at all costs.

Iran’s 2017 presidential “election” is intertwined with the issue of Khamenei’s successor as his health is known to be deteriorating due to prostate cancer. This leaves the Iranian regime facing fast escalating domestic crises, parallel to increasing international pressures with a new US administration overhauling the previously failed Iran policies.

This is the exact timing when the international community can finally choose to stand alongside the Iranian people and their organized resistance to realize the true desires of a nation that yearns to establish a new Iran based on freedom and democracy, and free of any drive for a nuclear/ballistic missile arsenal, weapons of mass destruction, or extraterritorial terrorism and meddling.

Iran’s Presidential Election Will Render A Weaker Regime

The so-called presidential “election” that is scheduled for May 19th in Iran is in far contrast to what is witnessed in today’s democratic countries. Polls in Iran under the mullahs’ regime are neither free nor fair, and the upcoming presidential election will weaken the regime in its entirety to an unprecedented scale.

What Tehran considers a constitution prevents any possible election based on internationally recognized standards. Candidates must prove their utter loyalty to the mullahs’ regime and the Supreme Leader. As a result, the word “opposition” has no meaning in Iranian politics. As a result any assertion of “moderates” facing off against “hardliners” in Iran is completely misleading. This is a regime of various factions, not different political parties.

The Supreme Leader has the final word in all state affairs, including national security and foreign relations. All three executive, legislative and judiciary branches of the government are under the heavy influence of the Supreme Leader.

The president in Iran is a post completely reliant to the Supreme Leader, knowing he can be sacked at any moment and without prior notice. True authority in Iran is controlled by the Supreme Leader’s office and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

“We are all merely facilitators of this regime,” once said Mohammad Khatami, the so-called “moderate” president who served from 1997 to 2005.

This regime’s core policies hover around domestic crackdown, exporting terrorism and fundamentalist abroad, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the form of a nuclear arsenal and ballistic missiles.

And all candidates, including the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and a leading pro-Khamenei camp loyalist Ebrahim Raisi, are in line with all the regime’s strategic objectives. Otherwise, their candidacy would not enjoy Khamenei’s necessary approval.

Raisi has been a figure involved in Iran’s judiciary from the early days of this regime. He is mostly known for his notorious role in the “Death Commission” ordered by regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini himself to preside over the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members and supporters of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Rouhani, while claiming to be a moderate, bears a significant security profile serving the regime’s higher interests. He was key in imposing strictly conservative clothing regulations on Iranian women following the 1979 revolution; acted as Rafsanjani’s right hand man during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and sending even juveniles to the front lines; remaining silent over the 1988 massacre; admitting to his direct involvement in the 1999 student uprising crackdown; and sending over 3,000 people to the gallows during the four years of his tenure.

Rouhani, known as the “Purple Fox” in Iran for his deceptive nature, has publicly supported Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s carnage against the innocent Syrian people and long pursued to advance Iran’s nuclear program and ballistic missile drive.

The only difference cited between Raisi and Rouhani is the latter’s ability to combine his brutality with a deceptive touch.

To this end, whoever becomes this regime’s president after May 19th or the possible May 26th runoff, will only be a puppet for the Supreme Leader.

However, the 2017 presidential election in Iran are taking place at a time when Tehran is facing a conglomerate of crises:

  • 18 months after the nuclear deal implementation, and despite the Obama administration and the West going the limits in providing Tehran concessions, the mullahs’ regime has failed to reach a solution to any fundamentalist dilemma. Khamenei and his regime are severely weakened after giving up their nuclear weapon leverage and left with increasing crises across the board.
  • A new era is in the making as Team Obama left the White House and the new Trump administration is involved in a major foreign policy overhaul. This has raised foremost concerns for the mullahs’ in Tehran about possible future consequences, and placed a significant shadow over Khamenei’s desired presidential election outcome.
  • The Iranian opposition PMOI/MEK was able to successfully relocate all its members in an organized fashion from Iraq to European countries, leaving the regime in utter shock. Iran had sought their complete annihilation during their stay in Iraq. Now, the formation of this opposition force far from the Iranian regime’s reach is extremely dangerous for Tehran as this movement enjoys significant influence inside Iran.
  • Rafsanjani’s death has left the entire regime extremely weaker and the Rouhani camp without his crucial weight and support. While Khamenei may enjoy a short lived freer hand to consolidate his rule, the strategic impact of such a loss is considered irrecoverable for Tehran.

Making the entire scene even far more complex is Khamenei’s deteriorating health and the very dire issue of determining his successor.

All said and done, this regime has one major red line: to prevent Iran’s powder keg society from launching major protests and nationwide uprisings similar to that of 2009.

Khamenei enjoys the authority to “engineer” the election result, so long as such a measure falls short of leading to further factional infighting that may spark uprisings across the country. Considering the abovementioned factors that have weakened the regime considerably, the current apparatus lacks the capacity to overcome such a massive blow and any repetition of scenes similar to that of 2009 will noticeably challenge the entire regime.

The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hosted a web conference on Thursday providing an in-depth analysis and different perspective of the election outcome.

“The take away from all these factors is that the choices for Khamenei are between worse, and even far worse. This is the reality that Khamenei has to deal with and a totally new situation and new prospects,” according to NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Mohammad Mohaddesin.

Sensing his regime’s weakness, Khamenei has brought Raisi forth to consolidate his power and continue exporting terrorism and fundamentalist, regional meddling and domestic crackdown. If he succeeds in Raisi becoming president, the regime will witness its already dwindling base diminish extensively. The international community will also realize once and for all that reforms and moderation in Iran are nothing but a delusion.

If Rouhani remains for a second term, however, Khamenei’s prestige will suffer a major blow resulting in unprecedented inner conflicts. His ability to determine his successor will also be damaged and the regime will need to seek further concessions from the international community.

While factional crises will escalate as a result, and with Rafsanjani gone and Washington adopting a firm approach vis-à-vis Iran, the horizon looks gloom to say the least for the mullahs’ regime. No election outcome has the potential of relieving Tehran from these brewing crises.

Ebrahim Raisi, the new candidate in Iran’s presidential election

The candidacy of a cleric well known for his role in the atrocious crimes by the regime ruling Iran over the past three decades was announced.  Ebrahim Raisi, currently head of the massive Astan Quds Razavi entity in control of a sacred Shiite Muslim shrine, will be running for president in the May 19 polls.

While there are claims that this new development will unify the faction opposing the incumbent, President Hassan Rouhani, it is important to shed some light on Raisi’s past to understand how, very similarly to Rouhani himself, this new candidate has played a major role in the mullahs’ crimes.  One can also conclude that this is a prerequisite for any candidate taking part in any so-called election –  read: selection – held by the regime in Iran, thus rendering no change at all.

Raisi’s announcement on Thursday, as reported by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, comes a day after two other members of the “hardliners” faction, former firebrand president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, opted out.

Analysts are voicing a variety of opinions over the fact that Raisi will tighten the race and make the stretch more difficult for Rouhani, and portraying a broader image of Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, ill with prostate cancer, who is grooming Raisi to succeed him, using the presidency as a springboard.

Born in 1960, Raisi was involved in the regime’s judiciary since early after Iran’s 1979 revolution.  In 1988, as Tehran’s deputy prosecutor, Raisi was a member of the four-man team known as the “Death Commission,” appointed by Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, to massacre all political prisoners in Iran’s prisons who maintained their opposition.  Over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were sent to the gallows in a span of mere months.

 Last summer, a sound file surfaced, dating back to 1988 and around 20 days after the massacre began, of Khomeini’s successor, Hossein Ali Montazeri, meeting with Death Commission members, including Raisi, and describing the massacre as the most horrifying crime carried out by the Iranian regime.  Subsequent reports showed how Raisi played an active role and was known as the most ruthless Death Commission member.

Khamenei promoted Raisi in 1989 to deputy chair of the Assembly of Experts, the body in charge of selecting the next supreme leader.  Raisi continued to climb up the regime’s ranks in the judiciary, continuing his crimes against the Iranian people.

Khamenei also trusted Raisi to lead the Astan Quds Razavi, a foundation reported to be “one of the most important political and financial conglomerates of the clerical regime controlling massive assets and capital.”

However, as mentioned before, this presidential election in Iran is not between two starkly different candidates.  Rouhani has also played his role in the regime’s atrocities, proving despite his claims of being a “reformist” that all of the Iranian regime’s establishment enjoy reports full of repressive measures and crimes against the Iranian people.

Rouhani has since the 1979 revolution enjoyed a close relationship with the ultraconservative and ruthless Khomeini; acted as former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s right-hand man as he commanded Iran’s forces during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, sending millions of innocent Iranians, including juveniles, into the battlefields; was actively involved in the crackdown of the 1999 student uprising as secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council; and presided over 3,000 executions  under his tenure during the past four years.

As we wind down to the so-called “Election Day” in Iran, the international community needs to understand this new charade will not bring about any change in the characteristics of mullahs regime ruling Iran. Those who claimed Rouhani was a reformist made similar remarks during the tenure of former president Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005 and Rafsanjani’s two terms prior to that.

Through the decades the world has only witnessed Iran increasing its human rights violations, further intensifying its support for terrorism with its Revolutionary Guards and warmongering across the region, especially in Syria, pressing the pedal on its ballistic missile drive and further advancing their nuclear program despite a flawed deal sealed under with the Obama administration.

Iran’s presidential election will render nothing new. And the world should begin demanding Iran end its abovementioned atrocities.

Originally published in American Thinker

What Is Iran’s Policy-Making Mechanism?

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By Heshmat Alavi

As we close in to the Iran presidential election — read “selection” — a more precise look at the policymaking mechanisms at work in this very peculiar theocratic system is necessary.

The regime in Iran, with Hassan Rouhani as its president, has been eager to portray an image of a government mending fences with the international community.

However, no beginning of true political change has occurred in Iran despite Rouhani’s deceptive smiles. The so-called “reformist-moderate” initiative in Iran has only further strengthened and secured Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in power.

There is a misleading notion of two divergent political trends in Iran, one pursuing a so-called “hardline” approach led by the Khamenei-IRGC camp, and another claiming a more “reformist” attitude by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his mentor and fierce Khamenei rival, the late former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Yet the harsh reality is that these seemingly competing trends are quietly harmonious in practice. Khamenei continues to monopolize power in Iran, while in need of the rival camp to portray a satisfactory canvas of his regime to the outside world.

Khamenei has the last word on all national security and foreign policy matters. Concern at times raised by outside analysts over escalating tensions between the two sides over subjects such as the nuclear deal are the result of Iran’s deceptive propaganda machine at work. The regime, in its entirety, focuses on swaying all attention far from the true policymaking mechanics at work deep in Tehran.

Rouhani only became president with Khamenei’s personal blessing, as the latter understood fully the potential of another 2009-style uprising brewing in Iran. The Guardian Council, Khamenei’s lever to control all elections by vetting each and every candidate, enjoys the authority to bar any individual considered unpalatable. Rest assured that Khamenei considered Rouhani useful, or else he would have joined the long list of disqualified others.

Khamenei saw his regime facing a massive economic crisis threatening to spark a major uprising after former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, described as a firebrand, plunged Iran into serious international isolation. Sanctions were frustrating the Iranian population and the global oil price nosedive added insult to injury.

At first glance the IRGC, taking control over a large portion of Iran’s economy, was benefiting as sanctions burdened private sector competitors. Yet little by little even the IRGC’s profits began to plunge, and Khamenei realized his desperate need for sanctions reliefs at the price of taking a major step back from his nuclear ambitions.

Tehran is taking advantage of the Iran nuclear deal as a medium to calm domestic unrest and to revive the IRGC’s former economic stature. To this end, Khamenei needed a figure such as Rouhani to help convince the international community to make the deal. Of course, Tehran also enjoyed a major lifeline through the pro-appeasement dogma adopted by U.S. President Barack Obama.

In the meantime, Khamenei also needed to preserve his domestic image, as kowtowing to foreign pressure would be recipe for disaster. This is where the regime pursued a two-faced approach. While Rouhani and his top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, played “good cop” shaking hands with the “Great Satan,” Khamenei remains the “bad cop” in resorting to blatant rhetoric against America and Co.

This double-standard policy, pursued in parallel, has become the doctrine for the Iranian regime to maintain control over increasing domestic agitation while presenting an appealing portrait to the outside world.

While regime loyalists stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Khamenei threatened Riyadh with “divine revenge,” five American hostages were released in return for the United Nations declaring Iran in compliance with the nuclear pact.

A further in-depth evaluation proves Iran’s new economic exchanges with the West are not parallel to any political improvements. In fact, safeguarding the IRGC’s grip on the economy is considered vital to enhancing their political position.

The IRGC has also been described as “a major force when it comes to controlling Iran’s economy. Many Iranians in and out of the country have called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ‘Iran’s mafia.’”

The elimination of 99% of so-called “reformist” candidates in the February 26 parliamentary elections can provide a preview to the upcoming presidential elections, with higher stakes at play.

No pragmatic behavior by Iran will render any meaningful change within. Nor will Tehran ever abandon regional ambitions in which it has invested billions, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon. In fact, boosting efforts to realize such objectives is necessary to maintain Iran’s political status quo.

While Khamenei remains in control, recent developments in Syria, with Russia and Turkey spearheading a ceasefire agreement, are completely against Iran’s interests. This is parallel to snowballing dissent inside Iran on the verge of intense times prior to the May 2017 presidential election. This leaves Khamenei before a major dilemma over how to play his cards.

“The 37-year-old experience of the destructive and murderous mullahs’ regime in my country has shown that no degree of political and economic concessions, which have been carried out at the expense of the Iranian people, have led to a change of behavior or policies of the Iranian regime either inside or outside of Iran,” said Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group of dissident entities including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Sanctions relief providing temporary life-support for Tehran won’t last long. The international community, and the new administration in Washington, should take advantage of the nuclear deal to increase pressure on Tehran, forcing it to start actually abiding by international laws and standards.

Originally posted in American Thinker

Heshmat Alavi is a political and rights activist. His writing focuses on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program.

He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi

Change in Iran? Do not Hold Your Breath

 

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Hassan Rouhani has brought no change to Iran

 

Originally published in Sooper Articles

Regime in Iran Far From Opening Up

There are views heard about “change in the making” in Iran, with reference to the defeats suffered by “hardliners” at the hands of “reformists” in the recent February elections. Such reasoning considers the nuclear agreement sealed with the West as the driving force behind these turn of events.

Continue reading “Change in Iran? Do not Hold Your Breath”