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Once Again, Facts Give the Lie to the Myth of Iranian Moderation
On Tuesday, the Assembly of Experts—the body responsible for choosing who will succeed Ali Khamenei as Iran’s supreme leader—named Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati as its new chairman. The selection of the eighty-nine-year-old Jannati, writes Amir Toumaj, is yet further evidence that the nuclear deal, despite the claims of its supporters, is hardly encouraging moderation within the regime:
Jannati . . . has a reputation for blistering denunciations of America, of Iranian reformists, and of any attempts to deviate from the founding principles of the Islamic revolution. His victory undermines the unsupported assessment that “moderate” clerics had won this year’s election to the assembly, and might one day choose a similarly moderate supreme leader to replace the aging Ali Khamenei.
In addition to his new post chairing the Assembly, Jannati has since 1992 headed the Guardian Council—which vets all assembly, parliamentary, and presidential candidates, and also oversees elections. Under his leadership, the council supervised and approved the fraudulent 2009 ballot that brought the firebrand president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. On other occasions, he has warned there can be “no room for mercy” for the regime’s opponents at home, and declared, “We are an anti-American regime. America is our enemy, and we are the enemies of America.” . . .
Ultimately, with the assembly that chooses the next supreme leader determined to stay Iran’s revolutionary course, it is all but guaranteed that Khamenei’s successor will be a hardliner’s hardliner like himself.