Stimson in the News

Stimson event on the Iranian presidential election is covered by Radio Free Europe

in Program

When tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to celebrate Hassan
Rohani’s presidential victory last weekend, one chant stood out:
“Dictator! Thank you!”

In the back of their minds, the protesters must have been asking themselves the
same thing surprised Iran observers are wondering: Why would Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the “dictator” who has final say on all
things in Iran, allow a relative moderate with ties to an archrival to win the
presidential election?

And why, in the first election since allegations of fraud tainted the
contentious 2009 vote, would the supreme leader apparently let voters determine
the outcome?


Speaking on June 17 at the Washington-based Stimson Center, Fatemeh
Haghighatjou, a prominent former reformist lawmaker, described Rohani’s victory
as a “welcomed surprise” that created a “win-win situation for

“The supreme leader won by seeing a higher rate of participation in order
to increase his legitimacy and, for the first time, he extended his call to
vote to those who do not believe in the regime itself,” Haghighatjou said.
“The people won because their vote was counted and we are seeing
postelection celebrations. The election showed the Green Movement is alive and,
most importantly, the people of Iran spoke out.”

To read the full story, click here.

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