ADL Says Re-Election of Iranian President Rouhani Reminds Us How Little Has Changed

Calls on International Community to Continue its Vigilance and Pressing of Real Reform

New York, NY, May 21, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the re-election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani does not change the imperative that the world must be vigilant and oppose the regime’s internal and external aggressions.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:

This election reminds us how little has changed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Incumbent Hassan Rouhani was one of the handful of candidates handpicked by Iran’s Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council. And, indeed, the ultimate power in the country continues to lie with the Supreme Leader. It is even a stretch to call this an election in any conventional sense when all the contestants were hand-picked by the Supreme Leader, when outsiders were not permitted to observe the process, and when minority candidates were excluded from the polls.

It is unhelpful when Western media portray Rouhani as the ‘moderate’ candidate. This description only clouds the reality of modern Iran. It is a brutal theocracy that oppresses its own people, albeit some quarters prefer to strengthen the bureaucrats and others prefer to strengthen the clerics. But regardless of the winner in this process, the outcome is the same: authoritarianism, militarism, repression, and an unbroken allegiance to the Islamic revolution.

We cannot forget that under this so-called ‘moderate’ leader, there was no slowdown in Iran’s aggressive regional policy, including state sponsorship of terrorism; active participation in war crimes committed in Syria; and unceasing belligerence against Israel that manifested through financial and material support for terror organizations along with an unrelenting stream of anti-Semitic propaganda. Nor was there a moderation of its gross human rights violations against religious minorities, the LGBT community, journalists and others, particularly its widespread use of imprisonment and execution to intimidate its own citizens.

It is important that the U.S. Administration has been tough in holding Iran accountable through enhanced sanctions related to its missile program and human rights outrages. We call on the international community to be vigilant and continue to press for real policy, democratic and social reform.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.