Embassy Row: ‘Lap dog’ president

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As the polls opened Friday in Iran’s presidential election, a leading member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee declared the winner would be nothing more than a “pliable and dependable lap dog” who will serve Iran’s extremist religious rulers.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called the contest — in which the regime allowed eight candidates on the ballot while disqualifying nearly 700 — a “sham election rigged by the supreme leader [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] and his regime in an effort to cement its control over the Iranian people.”

The Florida Republican, who is chairwoman of the subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, is preparing to hold a hearing Tuesday on the election attended by specialists on Iran from leading Washington think tanks. Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen dismissed the “handpicked candidates” and predicted that any one of them would “guarantee the regime a pliable and dependable lap dog that will do its bidding and — most important for the regime — not cause problems for it domestically.”

The winner turned out to be Hasan Rowhani, a candidate whom Western reporters widely hailed as a moderate. However, the exiled Iranian resistance scoffed at that label.

“From the point of view of the Iranian people, Rouhani has been complicit in the regimes’ crimes from its beginnings and is part of this regime. Introducing him as a ‘moderate’ fools no one,” said the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran.

The resistance accused the regime of rigging the election by quickly declaring a winner Saturday to prevent a repetition of the unrest after the 2009 presidential election.

It also disputed the claim that 72 percent of voters went to the polls.

“In line with its usual practice, the regime multiplied the number of voters by four- and five-folds in order to cover up its illegitimacy,” the resistance said.

JETS FOR TAIWAN

Two House Democrats joined four Republicans in sponsoring an amendment to a defense spending bill that calls on President Obama to sell Taiwain 66 F-16 warplanes instead of providing spare parts for older jets.

“Our bipartisan amendment is critical to America’s strategic economic and defense partnerships with Taiwan,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Virginia Democrat and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“This amendment is critical in ensuring the long-term security of the people of Taiwan,” added Rep. Albio Sires, New Jersey Democrat and committee member.

As China pursues a massive defense buildup, Mr. Obama insisted on sending Taiwan only replacement parts. The amendment to the 2014 defense authorization act passed on a voice vote Friday.

The other sponsors of the amendment are Republican Reps. John R. Carter of Texas, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Phil Gingrey of Georgia and Kay Granger of Texas.

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

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About the Author
James Morrison

James Morrison

James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...

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