SteveLendmanBlog – Hassan Rohani : Iran’s President-Elect – 17 June 2013

StevelendmanHassan Rohani: Iran’s President-Elect

by Stephen Lendman

It’s official. Iran’s Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar announced it. Rohani won 50.7% of 36.7 million votes cast.

Six candidates competed. Principlist Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf finished second. He received one-third of Rohani’s total.

Rohani won decisively. He’ll serve four years. He’s limited to two terms. He’s head of state. On October 24, 1979, Iranians adopted their Constitution. They did so democratically by national referendum.

On December 3, it took effect. On July 28, 1989, it was amended. It’s called a “hybrid (of) theocratic and democratic elements.”

Articles One and Two vest sovereign power in God. Article Six “mandates popular elections for president and parliament (the Majlis). Chapter Eight includes Supreme Leader and Guardian Council powers.

Chapter Nine, Section One explains presidential powers and responsibilities.

He’s Iran’s highest elected official. He’s responsible “for implementing the Constitution and acting as the head of the executive, except in matters directly concerned with (the office of) the Leadership.”

Qualifications for president include “Iranian origin; Iranian nationality; administrative capacity and resourcefulness; a good past-record; trustworthiness and piety; convinced belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official religion of the country.”

Elections “must take place no later than one month before the end of the term of the outgoing President.”

Presidents are “responsible to the people, the Leader and the Islamic Consultative Assembly.”

Presidential duties include “authority to sign treaties, protocols, contracts, and agreements concluded by the Iranian government with other governments, as well as agreements pertaining to international organizations, after obtaining the approval of the Islamic Consultative Assembly.”

They’re “responsible for national planning and budget and state employment affairs and may entrust the administration of these to others.”

“In case of death, dismissal, resignation, absence, or illness lasting longer than two months of the President, or when his term in office has ended and a new president has not been elected due to some impediments, or similar other circumstances, his first deputy shall assume, with the approval of the Leader, the powers and functions of the President.”

“The Council, consisting of the Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, head of the judicial power, and the first deputy of the President, is obliged to arrange for a new President to be elected within a maximum period of fifty days.”

“In case of death of the first deputy to the President, or other matters which prevent him to perform his duties, or when the President does not have a first deputy, the Leader shall appoint another person in his place.”

June 14 was Iran’s 11th presidential election. On August 3, Rohani will be inaugurated. He’s Iran’s seventh president. He faces enormous challenges. More on him below.

US policy remains unchanged. Regime change is prioritized.

Washington demands subservience. Independent governments aren’t tolerated. Rohani’s election won’t change things.

A White House statement stopped short of congratulating him. It’s disrespectful and unprincipled. It reflects longstanding anti-Iranian policy. It’s typically American, saying:

“We have seen the announcement by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran that Hojjatoleslam Doctor Hassan Rouhani has been declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election.”

“We respect the vote of the Iranian people and congratulate them for their participation in the political process, and their courage in making their voices heard.”

“Yesterday’s election took place against the backdrop of a lack of transparency, censorship of the media, Internet, and text messages, and an intimidating security environment that limited freedom of expression and assembly.”

“However, despite these government obstacles and limitations, the Iranian people were determined to act to shape their future.”

“It is our hope that the Iranian government will heed the will of the Iranian people and make responsible choices that create a better future for all Iranians.”

“The United States remains ready to engage the Iranian government directly in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

Fact check

Obama failed to congratulate Rohani. Doing so directly is called for. No personalized public statement was issued. No congratulatory phone call was made. No suggestion of normalizing relations was offered. Business as usual persists.

Iranian elections are open, free and fair. They shame America’s sham process. Iranians choose winners and losers. Their choice is respected. Monied interests have no say.

Iranian media report information people need to know. They do so responsibly. America’s media serve corporate and imperial interests. Managed news misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure.

So-called US “responsible choices” mean bowing to Washington’s will. Iranians overwhelmingly reject doing so. They want their sovereignty respected. They deserve that much and more.

Washington demands subservience. It’s the American way. It threatens world peace. It menaces humanity. Rohani faces enormous challenges. US policy won’t change. It’s lawless, unprincipled and unrelenting.

Israel’s no different. It menaces world peace. It reacted as expected. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said:

“The President elect in Iran had been shortlisted by the Ayatollah Khamenei, who has disqualified and removed candidates who did not conform to his extremist views.”

“After the elections, Iran will continue to be judged by its actions, in the nuclear sphere as well as on the issue of terror.”

“Iran must abide by the demands of the international community to stop its nuclear program and cease the dissemination of terror throughout the world.”

Netanyahu was typically hardline and unprincipled. He urged Western leaders to maintain relentless pressure, saying:

“We won’t fool ourselves, (and) the international community shouldn’t be tempted into wishful thinking and weaken the pressure on Iran regarding their nuclear program.”

“The greater the pressure on Iran the greater the chances of stopping the Iranian nuclear program, which remains the greatest threat to world peace.”

“Iran will be tested by its deeds: If it continues with its nuclear program it must be stopped by any means possible.”

His message leaves no ambiguity. State terrorism is official Israeli policy. Its electoral process mocks legitimacy. Voters have little choice. Ideological extremists run things. Rhetoric alone separates candidates. Policies are hardline.

Hypocrisy substitutes for democracy. Israeli Arabs are enfranchised in name only. They may seek office and serve if elected. They have no policymaking authority. They’re little more than potted plants.

Israel’s government is its most extremist ever. Dominant parties support belligerence, war on humanity, occupation ruthlessness, settlement expansions, and neoliberal harshness. Palestinians and Arab citizens suffer most.

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei congratulated Iranians. He thanked them for voting en masse. Turnout was 72.7%.

Long queues kept polls open for five extra hours. It was done to accommodate everyone wishing to vote. America shows no such respect. Its electoral process mocks legitimacy.

Iranians vote freely. Their will’s respected. Their message reflects resistance to “hundreds of political, economic and security ploys” meant to undermine public trust in government and the Islamic system, Khamenei said.

“The real winner of (Friday’s) election is the great Iranian nation which…prudently and tactfully confronted the war of nerves launched by the lackeys of (global) hegemony.”

Khamenei called the election a “political epic.”

“The elected president is the president of the entire nation. Everyone must help and sincerely cooperate with the president and his colleagues in the government to accomplish the great causes, which they are responsible to realize.”

Defeated candidates sent Rohani congratulatory messages. They did so respectfully.

Rohani represents the Supreme Leader in the Supreme National Security Council. He’s an Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts member. He’s President of the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research.

At campaign rallies, he pledged to seek “constructive interaction with the world….We won’t let the past eight years be continued,” he said.

With clear reference to Washington and complicit Western allies, he added:

“They brought sanctions for the country. Yet they are proud of it. I’ll pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace. We will also reconcile with the world.”

He campaigned on a platform of unlocking solutions for Iran. He stressed his “government of deliberation and hope.”

As a teenager, he pursued religious studies. He was outspoken against Mohammad Shah Pahlavi repression. He studied law at Tehran University. He completed graduate work at Glasgow University.

Throughout his political and diplomatic career, he’s held numerous high-level positions. In 1980, he won election to parliament. He served five terms for 20 years. He did so in various capacities. He was Speaker during his last two terms.

In terms one and two, he was a member of and then headed Iran’s Supreme Defense Council. He was a High Council for Supporting War member. From 1986 – 1988, he led its Executive Committee.

From 1983 – 1985, he was deputy commander of war. From 1985 – 1988, he served as Khatam-ol-Anbiya Operation Center commander.

From 1986 – 1991, he was Iran Air Defense Force commander. From 1988 – 1991, he served as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

At war’s end, he was awarded the second-grade Fath (Victory) Medal. He also received the Nasr Medal.

In terms four and five, he was Foreign Policy Committee chairman. From 1989 – 2005, he was Supreme National Security Council first secretary. Throughout most of the period, he was a national security presidential advisor.

From 1991 to today, he’s been an Expediency Council member. He heads its Political, Defense and Security Committee. In 2000, he was elected Semnan Province Assembly of Experts representative.

From 2006 to today, he served in the same capacity for Tehran Province. He heads the Assembly of Experts Political and Social Committee. He’s a Presiding Board member.

From 2006 – 2008, he headed the Secretariat of the Assembly’s Tehran office. From 2003 – 2005, he was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.

Besides political positions, he’s been involved in scientific activities. From 1995 – 1999, he was a Tehran University and North Region board of trustees member. Since 1991, he headed the Center for Strategic Research.

He’s managing editor of three scientific and research quarterlies. They include Rahbord (Strategy), Foreign Relations, and the Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs.

Rohani combines diplomacy, politics and scholarship. He’s known as the “Diplomat Sheikh.” He’s written many books, articles and research papers. They’re published in Farsi, Arabic and English.

They include “Islamic Revolution: Roots and Challenges,” “National Security and Economic System of Iran,” “National Security and Nuclear Diplomacy,” “National Security and Foreign Policy,” “National Security and Environment,” as well as several volumes of personal memoirs and Islamic political thought.

Rohani urges peace and reconciliation. He promised “government of hope and prudence”. He pledged “constructive interaction with the world.” He wants a “civil rights charter” enacted.

Iranians celebrated his victory. His main challenges lie in Washington and Tel Aviv. Pressure will remain unrelenting. It remains to be seen what follows.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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