The Sunday Telegraph

Iran’s tragic truth

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The man who has won Iran’s rigged presidenti­al election should be in prison, not power. Ebrahim Raisi was the youngest member of the 1988 Tehran death commission, accused of murdering 3,000 opposition prisoners. This did not come up in the presidenti­al debates. Nearly 600 people registered to run; the allpowerfu­l guardian council whittled it down to seven, three of whom later dropped out – so it is no surprise that the most fanatical candidate polled top on a risible turnout. Iranian democracy is an unfunny joke. The fact that the Biden administra­tion is trying to rescue a nuclear deal with this crooked regime, responsibl­e for repressing its own people and criminally mismanagin­g its economy, is a tragic punchline.

On this, Donald Trump was right: doing business with Tehran merely plays into the extremists’ hands. The mullahs have no intention of building a lasting peace. The Obama-era nuclear deal, heralded by naive Westerners as a latter-day glasnost, did nothing to contain Iranian imperialis­m and terrorism, or – remarkably – the country’s missile programme, even though it could one day be used to deliver a nuclear strike. Since the deal fell apart, Tehran has started enriching uranium to frightenin­gly high levels, and the UN watchdog is finding it harder to do its job. This is not a peaceful programme.

Mr Raisi, a foreign policy hardliner, might wish to put the Obama deal back into effect for its economic benefits, but cannot be trusted not to leverage the windfall to military advantage, readying his nation to become a nuclear player. He poses a danger to the region – and to his own people, for whom life gets tougher every day.

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