- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rarely has more misinformation been written or stated on one subject than is the case with Friday’s runoff election in Iran. Throughout the past week, we have been treated to myriad analyses purporting to tell us important things about the two candidates in the runoff: Mahmud Ahmadinejad, variously described as the “hardline” or the “conservative” mayor of Tehran, who won the runoff election with nearly 62 percent of the vote over the “moderate” Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, who won only about 37 percent.

Supposedly, we are told, Mr. Rafsanjani’s victory would have been a good thing, because he is a moderate and reformer who the European Union could reach an accommodation with over Iran’s nuclear program. Never mind the fact that, as president, he personally approved the murders of Iranian dissidents in Europe. Never mind all the corruption he employed in making himself a multimillionaire. Never mind the cavalier comment he made in December 2001 suggesting that Muslims would benefit from a nuclear-weapons exchange with Israel.

On the other hand, we were told, a victory for Mr. Ahmadinejab would usher in a generation of almost limitless darkness, as he and his fellow malevolent conservatives ushered Iran back to the Dark Ages. So, in mid-week, readers of newspapers like the New York Times were treated to a breathtaking revelation about Mr. Ahmadinejab: His wife and child use the Internet a great deal, and he therefore may not be determined to do what the mullahcrats in Tehran have been trying to do: censor the Internet or shut it down.

In truth, so much of this is rubbish and disinformation. The country’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, remains firmly in charge of the country — exactly as he would have been had Mr. Rafsanjani won the other day. The pop analysis aside, the election will have no effect on Iran’s weapons of mass destruction or its role in supporting terrorism.

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