All in moderation: The US, Iran, and the way forward
Since his surprising win in Iran’s presidential election in June, Hassan Rouhani, who was inaugurated on Sunday, has been the subject of intense debate in the Washington policy community: Is he, or isn’t he, a moderate? Much ink has been spilled over the question. In fact, just days before his inauguration, Iranian media misquoted Rouhani, reporting that he called for the removal of Israel. Seized upon by American and Israeli hawks, these words were used to support their suspicion that the new president will merely follow in the footsteps of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—but within 24 hours, their assertions were debunked when members of the Iranian and international media revealed that Rouhani had indeed been misquoted.
Rouhani can be described as a moderate only in the relative sense that he was the most moderate choice available to Iranian voters; Iran’s Guardian Council, the unelected body that determines candidates’ fitness to run based on their allegiance to the Islamic Republic, rejected the more reformist candidates. But Iranian reformists threw their support behind Rouhani, the longtime regime stalwart who was part of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s entourage while in exile. In fact, former President Mohammad Khatami, a leader of Iran’s reform movement, even asked reformist Mohammad Reza Aref to withdraw from the race so as not to split the reformists’ vote.
Read more here.
This article was originally published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or email@example.com
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or email@example.com
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org