Iran's President Rouhani: No Moderate

Iran Focus

London, 29 May - Heshmat Alavi, a political activist specializing in human rights in Iran, wrote an analytical piece for Al Arabiya called: “How to define Iran’s Hassan Rouhani as a ‘moderate’”, in which he addressed the troubling myth of hardliners v moderates in the Iranian Regime and the Western news coverage surrounding the sham elections.

He quoted former MEP Struan Stevenson, who wrote: “The fact that Hassan Rouhani was declared the runaway victor in the presidential election was proclaimed in the West as a triumph for the forces of moderation and reform. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Alavi wrote that despite the mainstream media’s desperation to label Iranian presidential candidates as moderates, there are no moderates in the Iranian Regime.

He quoted from The New York Times, who wrote that the Iranian people had come out in force to support Rouhani over his opponents because of his supposed moderation.

He wrote: “While The New York Times piece is right in saying Iran has “a civic culture that refuses to surrender its dignity to dictatorship,” it is interesting how it cannot flee the fact that the regime in Iran is a “dictatorship”. So how can a dictatorship have a “moderate” president?”

He wrote: “It is interesting how one can describe a man as a moderate while he oversaw over 3,000 executions during four years as president.”

Then he quoted The Washington Times, who noted: “Since Mr. Rouhani’s ‘moderate’ presidency, executions in Iran have proliferated, usually at grisly public hangings. There were 360 executions in 2011, according to Amnesty International, and by 2014, the number had soared to 734. The UN special reporter for human rights put the number of executions in 2015 at 966. Mr. Rouhani’s hangmen rested in 2016, relatively speaking, with only 567 executions. Moderation ends where the noose begins.”

Alavi notes that these are official figures from the Regime and as such the real numbers are likely to be much higher.

However, even the Washington Times piece went on to congratulate Rouhani for his criticisms of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, as if that wasn’t a purely political move. After all, Rouhani’s latest budget allocates a considerable amount of money towards the Revooltuionaty Guards which allows them to continue their terrorist activities and increase support for terrorist cells like Hezbollah and Hamas.

While Rouhani’s main opponent in the election, Ebrahim Raisi, was most well-known for his role in the 1988 massacre which killed 30,000 political prisoners has revealed that the ‘moderate’ candidate had his hands covered in blood who has called for more public executions.

In the first week of his second term, right before the start of Ramadan, Rouhani executed ten more people. Does that sound like a moderate?

Alavi also dismissed the claims of a 75% voter turnout, reminding us that the Regime does not have an atmosphere which allows for its citizens to speak freely about politics without fear of reprisals by the government.