Iran

A nice moderate start?

Cross-posted from Potkin Azarmehr at For a democratic secular Iran

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said the decision by Britain to decline the invitation to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Islamic Republic was “ill-judged and short sighted”.

It would be good to know what Douglas Alexander would have expected the UK representative to do when the rest of the invitees to the inauguration ceremony were asked to chant “Death to those who oppose the Supreme Leader, Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel” as seen in this clip from yesterday’s inauguration ceremony?

And in this clip below, the Supreme Leader tells the inauguration audience how Iranians have only ever “tasted democracy” during the 34 year rule of the Islamic Republic, as the cameras pan across the elite and the beneficiaries of this “democracy”

The new “moderate” president is also seen here meeting the representative of North Korea, one of Islamic Republic’s closest allies

Former Iranian president Mohamad Khatami, who did so much of the leg work to bring the crowds to the polling stations, wasn’t even allowed anywhere near the ceremony.

It was also unclear from the live coverage if Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir was in the audience but Iran’s news media  were saying that the wanted war criminal was definitely amongst the invitees and would attend the inauguration ceremony.

It seems its business as usual for Islamic Republic but a few nice words and a few smiles here and there can pull the wool over the eyes of many including those of Douglas Alexander.

Gene adds: The current foreign secretary, William Hague, also seems to think the inauguration of Hasan Rouhani signals a possible new beginning.

…Hague signalled that Britain was open to improved relations with Iran on a “step-by-step” basis yesterday following talks with his Tehran counterpart.

The breakthrough phone call between Mr Hague and Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s outgoing foreign minister, came after overtures from Tehran following last month’s general election.

Mr Hague afterwards announced that he would meet with Iranian representatives at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in September. The Iranian delegation in New York will be led by Hassan Rouhani, the Glasgow-educated new president who has said he wants to improve Iran’s international ties.

There is more skepticism on this side of the Atlantic. The House of Representatives last week voted 400 to 20 to tighten sanctions and penalize countries that still buy oil from Iran.

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