Iran's President Rouhani: a Nuclear Fig Leaf

Naive observers of the recent Iranian presidential election call it a "game-changer." Such optimism warrants a sober assessment of the election, Hassan Rouhani, and the context within which he operates. An unelected body of 12 Islamic jurists selected eight candidates (after rejecting over 600 for being women, religious minorities, or inadequately zealous). Rouhani, a 64-year old regime loyalist, was the most "moderate" of the final voter options. But he led the crackdown on a 1999 student uprising and helped the regime to advance its nuclear-weapons program. Had Mir Mousavi, the reformist leader of the 2009 green movement, been released from house arrest and allowed to compete freely against Rouhani, Mousavi would have likely won by epic margins. Rouhani's electoral victory was essentially just a protest vote against Khameini. Fortunately, the will of the Iranian people was so overwhelming this time that it couldn't be dismissed by Khameini, who in 2009 engineered election...(Read Full Article)