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March 11, 2016

CAMERA Tells Times Dispatch: No, 'Moderates' Did Not Win in the Iran Elections

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(The letter below was published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on March 11, 2016)

“The Times-Dispatch editorial “Iran votes for reform—maybe (March 3)” omits important information about the recent elections in Iran for parliament and the Assembly of Experts.

The editorial rightfully notes that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is “described as a moderate,” but “does not resemble Joe Biden or John Kasich.” This is correct—Rouhani is a regime insider who served as first secretary of the Supreme National Security Council when the Islamic Republic bombed Israel’s embassy and a Jewish community center in early 1990’s Argentina and assassinated regime critics on European soil.

Yet, the Times-Dispatch omitted that Iran’s unelected Guardian Council disqualified around 60 percent of the candidates who sought to run for parliament, including 99 percent of the reformist candidates, as well as 80 percent of the candidates for the Assembly of Experts. The latter body chooses the Supreme Leader, the man who ultimately holds final say in the Islamic Republic’s totalitarian theocratic system.

Of those not disqualified, Saeed Ghasseminejad, an analyst with Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a D.C.-think tank, said that the Rouhani camp saw it “could not win the AoE [Assembly of Experts] election so it decided to announce those who win are moderate and reformist even if they say they are not.”

If Rouhani did—as the editorial claims—receive a “boost,” it was from similarly immoderate regime insiders like former intelligence minister Ghorbnali Dorri Njafabadi and Mohammed Emami-Kashani, among others. The former is believed to be responsible for killing Iranian dissidents, the latter claims that the United States and Israel created al-Qaeda. Both won elections as “moderates.”

Reformers did not, as your editorial states, prevail in the elections. The regime did.

Sincerely,

Sean Durns

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America”

Note: This post was updated on March 20, 2016

Posted by SD at March 11, 2016 12:59 PM

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