Reactions to Iran’s Peaceful Presidential Election 2013


At a time when much of the news coming from the Muslim world is rather depressing, the peacefully held presidential elections in Iran this week are surely to be welcomed. The voter turnout of 72.7% would look good against the record of most Western democracies.

So, it is worth taking a look at the response of some in the international community to Iran’s 2013 presidential elections.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu is quoted today in the Jerusalem Post as calling Iran the “world’s greatest threat” and urged the international community not to soften the sanctions regime against Iran which have unquestionably hurt the Iranian economy. Israel routinely incites the USA to bomb Iran so Netanyahu’s response was not unexpected, though in the wake of the recent belligerent statements from nuclear-armed North Korea, his characterisation of Iran as the “world’s greatest threat” might perhaps have less effect than previously. And as the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons state, Israel has perhaps only itself to blame if countries in the region decide that they too must have nuclear capabilities.

The White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, responded by pointing out that the 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.” The US Secretary of State, John Kerry said:  “President-elect Rowhani pledged repeatedly during his campaign to restore and expand freedoms for all Iranians. In the months ahead, he has the opportunity to keep his promises to the Iranian people.”

The US response was not inaccurate – to be sure, the Iranian presidential elections had many flaws, particularly the disqualification of many candidates and the prohibition on women candidates. Even so, it is worth noting that the US very rarely criticises the most awful regimes in the region such as that in Saudi Arabia where women are prohibited from even driving cars. As long as the Saudi regime spends a fortune on buying US arms and doing the bidding of the US, then the White House appears more than willing to overlook its ghastly human rights record. So, the US response to the Iranian elections smacks more of hypocrisy and a desire to plunder the wealth of the Iranian nation rather than a genuine concern for the welfare of the Iranian people.

For all its many flaws, Iran is an independent country in a region sadly still awash with plenty of US client regimes.

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5 Responses to Reactions to Iran’s Peaceful Presidential Election 2013

  1. sajid says:


    What would you prefer? An independent Iran or a US client state ?


  2. Ahmed says:

    Yes an independent country which is complicit in the murder of 100,000 Syrians…

    • This blog was not about Iran’s many failings. It was about this week’s presidential elections. There was a huge voter turnout and compared with 2009, the elections went very peacefully. That has to be good news.

  3. Brendan says:

    Inayat, good comment I agree with your points.
    Although not an ‘election’ as we recognise one it’s clear the Iranians have turned out in good numbers and chosen the one person who was saying something different to the rest of the candidates.
    It seems a lot of western politicians just don’t seem to understand Iran or its extraordinary place in human history. Given the volatile nature of the region it’s no surprise that the local nations take an intense interest in what their neighbours are up to and who they are friends with. I’m certainly no ‘Blair hater’, but it seems extraordinary that in an interview with the Times last Saturday he can complain without a hint of irony, that [the] ‘Iranians are meddling in Iraq’… (!) Comedians form an orderly queue.
    Iran are interested in what is going on in the area and not surprisingly want to be involved, and it’s getting more complicated by the day. I wish William Hague could have visited the church that was not only destroyed but utterly desecrated* by so called ‘freedom fighters’ before they fled Qusair and ask him if he’s still keen to give them more weapons. Their heinous actions left you in doubt what their vision of a new Syria would look like. Ironically it was the Iranians via Hezbollah who sent them away.
    There are no easy answers to any of the problems but I pray to God that president –elect Hasan Rowhani will serve with wisdom, mercy, justice, and righteousness

    *See Lisa Ducet’s report for the BBC

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