Hassan Rouhani has been elected to a second term as Iran’s president. Most do not interpret this as the Iranian people having voted for a “moderate” over a “hardline’ candidate, although Western mainstream media describes Rouhani as a “moderate”.
Heshmat Alavi, in his Al Arabiya article says, “In fact, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sought to repeat the 2009 scenario of engineering the entire election process to have his preferred candidate declared victor, not Rouhani.”
The New York Times wrote regarding Rouhani, “…About 75 percent of Iranian voters turned out to repudiate an authoritarian populist and re-elect their moderate president, Hassan Rouhani… Having concluded the historic nuclear agreement with world powers in 2015, he now emphasized priorities he’d abandoned in his first term: rights, freedoms…”
The Washington Times said, “Since Mr. Rouhani’s ‘moderate’ presidency, executions in Iran have proliferated, usually at grisly public hangings. There were 360 executions in 2011, according to Amnesty International, and by 2014, the number had soared to 734,” the Times piece adds,“He directly challenged the abuses of the judiciary and the political overreach of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, with which he has vied for authority throughout his presidency,”
The UN special reporter for human rights put the number of executions in 2015 at 966. In 2016, there were 567 executions.
Rouhani’s defense minister, Hossein Dehghan, a senior IRGC commander, highlighted a new military projects sought by Tehran, including a satellite altimetry calibration system. Alavi says, “Iran has long been accused of seeking to enhance its intercontinental ballistic missiles under the cover of launching space orbit satellite systems. Rouhani’s first four years, especially following the highly flawed nuclear deal signing, was riddled with troubling violations.”
“Iran has test-fired nuclear-capable ballistic missiles at least ten times since July 2015, despite a UN Security Council resolution, approved along with the nuclear accord, which explicitly calls on Iran to refrain from such activity,” according to reports.
Prior to the election, Iranian officials announced a 145% defense budget increase under Rouhani, with the military restructuring its ranks and files, upgrading it into a “forward moving force,” say reports from the region.
Semi-official Fars news agency, reported Thursday of Iran building a third underground ballistic missile factory.
Ebrahim Raisi, Rouhani’s rival during the election, and a conservative figure known for his role in the massacre of tens of thousands of political prisoners back in the summer of 1988, criticized the “moderate” Rouhani saying that his hands are stained with blood.
The news from inside Iran indicates that some ten individuals were executed in the first week of Rouhani’s second term. Alavi writes, “…this ‘moderate’ is known to be the first Iranian regime figure to call for public executions.”
We are yet again reminded of extremism in the recent attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt, across the Middle East, Iran, with Rouhani as president.
“Let me make it clear. Our money, meals, arms and missiles all come from Iran. We are well-off as long as Iran has money,” said Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nassrallah.
Former MEP Struan Stevenson said it best in a recent article, “The fact that Hassan Rouhani was declared the runaway victor in the presidential election was proclaimed in the West as a triumph for the forces of moderation and reform. Nothing could be further from the truth.”