Reformist? Iran's New President Is Anything But

The truth is that Iran’s reform movement has been dead for more than 20 years. It enjoyed a brief moment of influence in 1997 when Mohammad Khatami won the presidency with 69 percent of the vote. Khatami promised a series of real reforms in Iran, ranging from allowing newspapers to be critical of the regime and supporting a “dialogue of civilizations”—an ambitious diplomatic gambit meant to engage the West.

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Khatami, though, was never allowed to implement the reforms he promised in his campaign. On July 9, 1999, Khatami was unable to stop the regime’s gunmen from entering Tehran University and beating and disappearing student activists who were a core part of his voting base. After the 1999 crackdown, the reformists themselves were targeted. By the end of his second term in 2005, Khatami largely retired from public life as the regime continued to go after his political allies. The 80-year-old remains in Iran but has lost the influence he once had. 

Iranians have learned the hard way that reform is not possible so long as the country’s unelected Supreme Leader remains in power. Given that only 50 percent—at most—of Iran’s eligible voters turned out for this month’s election, it’s doubtful they will trust a new “reformist” president who pledges his fidelity to their tyrant. 

Ed Morrissey

Marvel with me, if you will, at Western media outlets who call Marine Le Pen and Georgia Meloni "far right" while referring to anyone in the Iranian regime as "reformist."

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