Iran’s Pezeshkian a ray of hope for the West – Asia Times

Words that are often used in the same word in recent years, especially in Western news reports, are encouraging democracy in Iran. However, Masoud Pezeshkian’s vote as Iran’s president must be seen as a good development.

Pezeshkian is a well-known senator who served as health minister in Mohammad Khatami’s liberal government between 2001 and 2005. He has just made a strong criticism of the brutal assault on large-scale rallies in 2018 and 2022.

Pezeshkian defeated his conservative opposition, Saeed Jalili, the original cause nuclear negotiator, by a ratio of 2.7 million votes in the run-off voting held on July 7. Turnout was 49.7 % of the 61 million eligible voters, ten items more than the first vote where fewer than 40 % voted.

Pezeshkian, 69, was born in the city of Mahabad in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province and speaks competent Kurdish and Azeri. He completed his training as a cardiac surgeon and enlisted in the Iran-Iraq battle from 1980 to 1988.

Pezeshkian, a vocal supporter of civil rights for Iranian women, unsuccessfully ran for president in 2013 and 2021 ( he was disqualified by the Guardian Council in that election ).

Pezeshkian is known to get in favor of closer ties with Europe, yet the US. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, addressed the audience at his tomb, where he prayed after the poll results were announced, saying,” I have come… to the area,… to get long enduring peace and tranquillity, and cooperation in the region, as well as dialogue and productive interaction with the world.

But you Pezeshkian provide the social equality, political accountability, and individual rights that millions of Iranians desire and have been risking their lives for? Do n’t forget that these lofty ideals were at the forefront of the revolution of 1979. And they have been severely betrayed, in distinct in recent years.

The comparative lack of enthusiasm for the votes, at least in the first round, suggests a high level of frustration in the public. But the ten-point increase in the number of citizens, when it appeared that they just may end up with a activist in the president, is revealing. Iranis have gathered once more.

No false claims

Pezeshkian is aware of the stress and devastation that regular Iranians experience so frequently. He made this clear in his discourse from Khomeini’s tomb.

” In this election, I did n’t give you false promises. I did not lie”, he said. It has been many years since the revolution that we appear on the podium, make promises, and do n’t deliver them. This is the biggest issue we currently face.

However, the new leader and his administration will have to explore the numerous subordinates that make up Iran’s complicated state apparatus. These establishments are currently dominated by the conventional right.

The traditional group supported by the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, who serves as the supreme head of state, succeeded in reviving prior efforts to reform the political system, most importantly under Khatami in the early 2000s. Pezeshkian is aware of how difficult it will be to implement true reform because he has served in this state.

He is even aware that he only has a limited time to effect adjustments. The new leader will not be the only one who has become extremely impatient with his or her officials. The drive towards reform did continue, if needed with more demonstrations.

In from the cool?

But there is cause for optimism, also in the realm of international politics. There is the potential for a constructive dialogue with Washington, as long as Donald Trump is n’t the next US president. The UK and the European Union are both at the same level.

One of Pezeshkian’s important supporters is Javad Zarif, then an intellectual, but originally foreign minister under the liberal former leader Hassan Rouhani. Zarif spoke at rallies all over the country in support of his colleague in the vein of Pezeshkian on the campaign road.

The US-educated Zarif was especially near to John Kerry, Obama’s secretary of state from 2013 to 2016. Their relationship was incredibly crucial in the negotiation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA ), the first direct negotiations between Iran and the US since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. These close ties are important.

Therefore, Pezeshkian has a chance to resume a new book in Iran’s domestic and international politics. And incidentally, this is why he was allowed to run in the vote and the message that it sends to the divided and angry Egyptian electorate that they do include a degree of political choice.

In this way, he is intended to work for the structure, both domestically and internationally, particularly with the US and Europe.

After all, the conservative Guardian Council, the same physique that barred him from the 2020 presidential election, was the only revolutionary candidate allowed to run in this vote.

But this new Iranian leader sends a message to the world that Iran can be discussed with and that Egyptian society can choose a certain course of action.

Mass demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who was killed by the conscience authorities in September 2022, had lingering unease and resentment, which is a major cause of concern for the state’s traditional core.

This was followed by a dangerously low attendance at the 2024 congressional elections, where only 40 % voted. The key state institutions saw both as an indicator of a major political crisis in Iran.

Pezeshkian’s election is a sign that the establishment is aware of the fact that the country’s validity had begun to be threatened by the lack of widespread support.

In many ways, Pezeshkian is able to eventually establish a method that is responsible to the Iranian people. However, it wo n’t be simple, and he will also be aware of the pressure coming from the conservative right.

Pezeshkian might be a genuine democratic leader and a creative activist, or he might be just another example of the overwhelming majority of Iranians ‘ political will.

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies, SOAS, University of London

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