Iran votes

This editorial first appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Americans should not forget that Iran does have presidential elections every four years, with the next round scheduled for Friday.

That said, Iranian elections are conducted under the watchful, oppressive eyes of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the other ayatollahs, and do not bear much resemblance to elections in places like France, Britain or the United States.

Six candidates won approval to run, although one has since dropped out. More are expected to drop out in an attempt to consolidate support behind the favorite candidate of the conservatives, Ebrahim Raisi.

The favorite in the race is President Hassan Rouhani. For the likely future well-being of the Iranian people, Rouhani is probably the best candidate. In his favor is the fact that it was under his leadership that Iran arrived at the agreement with China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the United States to bridle Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return for removal of some economic and financial sanctions.

That accord has not brought Iranians the great economic improvement they had hoped for, and that Rouhani had promised, but it has made a difference. The United States has dragged its feet for political reasons on taking advantage of the new open door to trade and investment in Iran that the agreement was billed to bring. One exception was two large orders to Boeing for some $23 billion for new commercial aircraft. Boeing estimates that the sale could result in as many as 18,000 new jobs for Americans.

Despite grumbling in Washington about it having been a bad bet, even if the United States pulled out of the agreement the Europeans and other signatories would not, thus putting America in the position of shooting itself in the foot, not damaging Iran, by its action.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.


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