Media Fawns Over Iran’s ‘Reformist’ New President, And That Should Be Your First Clue

The establishment media can barely contain its excitement over Iran’s newly elected president, Masoud Pezeshkian, who is, “journalists” can’t stop reminding us, a “reformist.” But does his election herald genuine reform in the Islamic Republic of Iran? Will the Islamic regime stop making war with its own citizens? Will the mullahs make peace with Israel and the United States? As it turns out, there are genuine reformists and there are recipients of media adulation. At least so far, Masoud Pezeshkian looks much more like the latter than the former.

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The media has certainly been energetically waving the pom-poms for Pezeshkian. The BBC explained Saturday that Pezeshkian “is critical of Iran’s notorious morality police” and “called for ‘constructive negotiations’ with Western powers over a renewal of the faltering 2015 nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for an easing of Western sanctions.” Meanwhile, the Beeb explained that Pezeshkian’s black-hatted opponent, Saeed Jalili, “is known for his hardline anti-Western stance and opposition to restoring the nuclear deal, which he says crossed Iran’s ‘red lines.’”

The Economist put it more bluntly: Pezeshkian, it said, is a “reform-minded heart surgeon who wants talks with the West and women to have the right to dress as they choose.” Pezeshkian, said the Wall Street Journal, will be a “reformist president” and “ran on a platform of re-engaging with the West and loosening the country’s strict moral codes for women.” Not that Pezeshkian will have an easy time of it; PBS reminds us that he “faces a government still largely controlled by hard-line clerics.”

Readers might get the impression from reports of this kind that Pezeshkian is poised to be a rational leader who seeks peace with Iran’s neighbors and the world at large, and who wants to curb the Islamic regime’s hardline enforcement of Sharia so as to make Iranian society more humane and livable for women, and thus for all people. The Western media seems determined to portray Pezeshkian as someone Just Like Us, a man who, if he lived in Manhattan or Beverly Hills, would be a regular contributor to NPR, a subscriber to the New York Times, and as against nukes and pro-peace and feminist as the next guy.

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This is, however, at best baseless fantasy, and at worst dangerously misleading propaganda. The Times of Israel provided some details Saturday that the major media outlets largely ignored. Pezeshkian “promised no radical changes to Iran’s Shiite theocracy in his campaign and long has held Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the final arbiter of all matters of state in the country.” This is not surprising. It’s easy for Westerners to lose sight of the fact that the president of Iran is not actually the man in charge; he is a functionary of the Supreme Leader. 

No one can even run for the presidency of Iran without Khamenei’s approval. That means that Khamenei approved Pezeshkian’s candidacy, which in turn means that Pezeshkian is a “reformist” only within an extremely narrow range. He may oversee the curbing of some of the excesses of Iran’s Sharia enforcement, but there is no chance whatsoever that he is going to discard Sharia provisions that severely restrict women’s rights and allow for spousal abuse (cf. Qur’an 4:34) and much more.

The Times of Israel adds that Pezeshkian “will also not lead change in Iran’s contentious relations with Israel, saying after he voted on Friday that should he win, he would ‘try to have friendly relations with all countries except Israel.’” What a sweetheart. This hostility toward Israel, however, may be one reason why the establishment media is so thrilled that he has won the election, in which — as a telling indication of their dissatisfaction with the regime of which Pezeshkian is a loyal exponent — only forty percent of eligible voters actually cast a ballot. The BBC and the rest share Pezeshkian’s hatred of the Jewish state, as well as his desire to resurrect Barack Obama’s nuclear deal.

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     Related: Who’s Funding Iran and Hamas? Joe Biden. Isn’t That Treason?

Remember, it was the hated Donald Trump who stated in May 2018 that “in theory, the so-called ‘Iran deal’ was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime. In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and, over time, reach the brink of a nuclear breakout….This disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States….The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

From the day the Biden regime took power, it has been trying to show up Trump by restoring the deal. The Iranians wouldn’t negotiate with the U.S., so Old Joe and his henchmen chose a Russian, Mikhail Ulyanov, to negotiate on our behalf. Ulyanov explained in March 2022 that the deal that was at that point in its final negotiating stages was shaping up to be terrific — not for the United States, but for Iran and China.

For a variety of reasons, that disastrous new deal never came to fruition. But now with Pezeshkian in the presidential chair, the establishment media is clearly hoping that the West will soon be showering even more billions upon the Islamic Republic. Their enthusiasm for Masoud Pezeshkian is the clearest indication of all that this particular “reformist” is all turban and no camel.

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