TIMMERMAN: Iran’s free-election farce

Rafsanjani would reclaim the presidency to finish a Persian bomb

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Iranians know what free and fair elections look like. Ironically, so does the regime, because its members signed the inter-parliamentary declaration defining the “requirements for free and fair elections” in 1994 when Mr. Rafsanjani was president.

Those requirements include the right of any citizen to become a candidate, regardless of his political or religious beliefs, the right of political parties to organize without government harassment, the free expression of political opinions, equal access of candidates to media, and legal protections of these freedoms. None of these conditions have ever existed in Iran.

Diplomats and leaders in many Western nations seem prepared to delude themselves once again that when a mullah smiles beneath his turban, he will remove the threat this regime poses to the world.

It’s time to end this farce. Instead of supporting Mr. Rafsanjani’s election show, the United States and our partners should demand that the Iranian regime conduct free and fair elections according to the standards they themselves agreed were universal. Failure to do so could put our own freedoms at risk, since it will further enable the regime to pursue its quest for nuclear weapons unchecked.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is president and CEO of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, iran.org, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work on Iran.

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