Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Pezeshkian’s win doesn’t change the fact that Iran is dangerously close to the bomb

Over 15 million Iranians turned out last Friday to cast their vote for reformist presidential candidate Massoud Pezeshkian, who defeated his uber-conservative rival Saeed Jalili.

Washington quickly sought to emphasize that it doesn’t anticipate the 69-year-old heart surgeon having any meaningful impact on the regime. “We have no expectation that this election will lead to a fundamental change in Iran’s direction or its policies,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Monday.

Miller stressed that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes the substantive decisions in Iran. “Obviously, if the new president had the authority to make steps to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, to stop funding terrorism, to stop destabilizing activities in the region, those would be steps that we would welcome,” Miller said. “But needless to say, we don’t have any expectation that that’s what’s likely to ensue.”

Israel offered a similar message. The Foreign Ministry posted on Instagram an image of Khamenei with the word “before” over it, and an identical image of the supreme leader with the word “after” over it.

Did millions of Iranians participate in a meaningless exercise, one that would have no impact of the fate of their country and of the region?

Half the country apparently felt that way. Turnout in the first round only scraped 40 percent, the lowest since the shah was deposed in 1979. Even Khamenei admitted that turnout was “lower than expected.” READ MORE