- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2005

As Iranian voters get ready to go to the polls tomorrow in the first round of presidential elections, the avalanche of breathless media hype has already begun. We’ve been treated to plenty of pontificating over the supposed “liberals” (the enlightened ones who tell us what we want to hear about women’s rights and political freedom). To win, these liberals will need to fend off the evil “conservatives” — the most backward of the ayatollahs, men who won’t even give interviews to the New York Times pretending to be for democracy, transparency and women’s rights and opening up the economy.

In reality, all of this is a sham. Recent polls suggest that the Iranian people want democracy and loathe the clerical dictatorship run by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — who will continue to control the country regardless of which of the candidates on the ballot wins the election. (There may be a runoff election between the top two vote-getters next week.)

Iran’s Constitution invests actual authority in Ayatollah Khamenei, and stipulates that “All laws and regulations” must “be based on Islamic principles.” The authority to determine whether a statute adheres to such principles is granted to the Supreme Leader of the country (Ayatollah Khamenei) and the Guardian Council, an institution where the supreme leader chooses most of the members. In the current election, the council approved just six of the more than 1,000 candidates who sought to run for president. In short, tomorrow’s election is designed to ensure that the world is gulled by the pretense of democracy while Ayatollah Khamenei and the clerics retain dictatorial control over the country.

One of the more bizarre things to watch will be the likely effort made by European Union diplomats to portray the favorite, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — an ally of Ayatollah Khamenei who served as president of Iran from 1989 to 1997 and has been a mainstay of the regime since the 1979 Iranian Revolution — as a moderate and reformist. It’s simply nonsense.

On the facing page, Hossein Abedini, an opponent of the clerical dictatorship in Iran, describes an attempt by the regime to murder him in 1990, while Mr. Rafsanjani served as president of Iran. Although Mr. Abedini and his organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, are extremely controversial and have made many enemies among rival Iranian dissident groups, the attempt on his life is just one of many tied to Mr. Rafsanjani over the years. To take just one example, a German court ruled that Mr. Rafsanjani and Ayatollah Khamenei, among other Iranian officials, ordered the 1992 murders of Iranian Kurdish leaders at a Berlin restaurant. In December 2001, Mr. Rafsanjani hinted that it might not be such a bad thing for Iran to target Israel with a nuclear weapon.

The truth is that whoever becomes Iran’s next president will do the bidding of the Islamofascist clerics who have ruled the country for 26 years.


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