The celebration of the Iranians victory of Hassan Rouhani over clerical ruler Ali Khamenei we should take some joy from controlled elections that still deliver surprises.
Rouhani was for years the all-purpose factotum—the inside fixer—for Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, former majordomo of the political clergy and right hand man of Ayatollah Ruhollah Komeini. Rafasajani isn’t a beloved national figure!
Rouhani was the only candidate whose triumph could’ve been construed as an expression of disapproval of the supreme leader’s increasingly tyrannical reign.
Rouhani called for the release of the former leaders of the Green Movement, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, without endorsing their main demand, free elections.
The Islamic Republic has always had three sets of rules for the citizenry: one for the elite, one for the common faithful and one for dissidents.
The election of Khatami introduced real reflection and tumult into the Islamic Republic’s political establishment. Khatmi’s critiques of the revolution, theocracy, the US and even the Islamic faith were serious. He has gathered around him a movement of individuals who were serious about changing the system. Much more than in the past, Khamenei and his minions solve their problems with brute force. Khamenei has built up shadow ministries within his own office that have veto power over their official counterparts.
The Obama administration is hopeful that the change of president’s will offer a breakthrough on the nuclear front. It may be tempted to relent on sanctions to see whether Khamenei can be induced to stop construction a nuclear weapon. The White House may think that sanctions have already been so painful to the ruling elite that Teheran is in fact ready to trade away partial control of its nuclear program to foreigners.
Rouhani has spent much time defending his work, arguing that Iran’s atomic quest could have advanced with less economic damage if he had been in charge.
Rouhani might just possibly convince the supreme leader to ship out some of Iran’s 20% enriched uranium in return for sanctions relief.
Obama has a choice between preemptively bombing the Islamic Republics nuclear sites and allowing the supreme leader and his guards the capacity to build an atomic weapon at any time of their choosing. The president has acknowledged the oncoming breakout capacity for the regime; he’s also pledged to stop it.
Khamenei flatly refuse that offer. “I’m not a diplomat; I’m a revolutionary,” he answered
Obama could up the ante: offer a really big bag of candy to the Iranian regime—all the stuff that “realists” believe motivates men—in exchange for a verifiable cessation of Iran’s uranium enrichment, openness about efforts at weaponization and the manufacture of centrifuges, a curtailment of centrifuge production and the implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol, which would allow US inspectors..
Sanctions haven’t stopped the nuclear program, gut they have brought sufficient pain for the elite to debate their damage openly.
After Hussein went down, the Iranian regime, according to the 2007 National Intel Estimate, stopped experimenting with nuclear triggers and warhead designs. ANY BETS

Source—weekly standard, reuel marc gerecht


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