If you think a 'moderate' has won in Iran, think again

May 29
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The Telegraph, By Christopher Booker
Sunday, 28 MAY 2017

Largely missed last week was the remarkable geo-political shift which took place when President Trump lined up Saudi Arabia and Israel in what is being called “a Nato-style coalition” against the country they all agree is at the heart of most of the Middle East’s problems: Iran. Instead of his campaign rhetoric seeming to oppose the US to all Muslims, he is now allied with half the Muslim world.

This followed the ghastly farce of the Iranian presidential election, when again we were told that the victor, Hassan Rouhani, was a “moderate” against a “hardliner”. As I have reported many times, Rouhani is an utterly ruthless operator, who had presided since 2013 over a collapsing economy and what Amnesty International called “a staggering execution spree”, murdering and imprisoning so many dissidents that Iran has per capita the highest execution rate in the world.

The real power in Iran lies with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is answerable only to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. This not only controls more than half Iran’s economy but is responsible for spreading terror at home and abroad across the Middle East.

Rouhani’s great boast was that he won from the West that “nuclear deal” under which Presideent Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to the partial lifting of sanctions and the release of £38 billion of Iranian assets frozem in the West.

But virtually all that £38 billion went to the IRGC, to pay for Hezbollah and the tens of thousands of mercenaries which have been the chief prop to the Assad regime in Syria; the disastrous destabilising of Yemen; and their interventions in Iraq, where, until Trump arrived, they were being given US air support.

Reliable sources from inside Iran provided abundant evidence of how horrendously its presidential election was rigged, with a turnout vastly below that claimed by the regime. The two candidates represented warring factions, each rightly accusing the other of massive corruption.

They equally attacked a new factor in the election, the prominence of posters calling for it to be boyotted, spread not least by members of the banned People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), part of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) which represents hundreds of thousands of Iranian exiles across the world.

These Iranians represent the one piece missing from Trump’s coalition, to demonstrate that this is not a struggle of Sunnis vs Shias, but that there are a huge number of Shia Iranians keener to see an end to the murderous Tehran regime than anyone.

In Paris on July 1 the NCRI is staging a rally of 100,000 Iranian exiles, to be addressed by a swathe of former leading politicians from across the world, most notably many senior figures from the US, including well-known former politicians, an ex-ambasador to the UN, John Bolton, an ex-director of the FBI and generals who served in Iraq.

They will call for the Trump government to lend its backing to Iranians who want to see their fanatical, ruthless, utterly corrupt dictatorship replaced by a secular, democratic government. With that, they believe, Trump’s coalition would include its last crucial piece. And the entire Middle East might in future pose infinitely less of a problem to the world.

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