Ignore the reformer charade in Iran

Ignore the reformer charade in Iran


Iranians elected Masoud Pezeshkian, a surgeon turned politician and a supposed reformist, for a four-year term following the sudden death of Ebrahim Raisi, a cleric whose hard-line rhetoric mirrored that of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

On cue, Western journalists and think tank analysts bought his self-description hook, line, and sinker.

“Iranian reformist wins presidency, seeks engagement with the West,” the Washington Post headlined. The New York Times declared him, without qualification, a “reformist [who] wants warmer relations with the West.” NPR, which previously took money from the pro-Islamic Republic Ploughshares Fund in a pay-to-play scheme, likewise declared Pezeshkian an unqualified reformist.

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So too did these outlets accept at face value Iranian statistics. Khamenei repeatedly cites voter participation as a testament to regime legitimacy, especially after the 2022 “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement.

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