Good news out of Iran today: moderate reformists are performing well in early election results:
Early election results in Iran show reformists who favor expanding democratic freedoms and improving relations with the West are expanding their presence in parliament and a clerical body responsible for selecting the country’s next supreme leader.
Reports in the semi-official Fars and Mehr news agencies showed hard-liners losing ground in the 290-seat legislature. None of Iran’s three main political camps — reformist, conservative and hard-line — was expected to capture a majority, but the reformist camp is on track for its best showing in more than a decade.
It’s not just a victory for reform. It’s also a functional and political victory for the Iran deal. Contrary to the hyperventilating of the Republican message machine, it was not hardliners in Iran who pushed for the deal but rather moderates. Removing sanctions not only brings Iran closer to the West in exchange for nuclear concessions which is a great idea on its own merits, but the success of the deal itself politically empowers moderates over the strict Islamists:
A victory for reformists would be a boost for moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the newly implemented Iranian nuclear deal with world powers in the face of hard-line opposition.
This is also, of course, a victory for the Obama Administration and for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who helped lay the groundwork for the eventual deal. In the fury of the presidential primaries it’s easy to overlook, but Democrats can and should hold the entire Republican Party accountable for its wrongheaded and frankly dangerous statements about the Iran deal. Everyone who supported the deal (and Clinton in particular) should do a victory lap and use the success of the deal as a political cudgel against every Republican candidate. It’s just another example of how liberal foreign policy creates better outcomes that improve the well-being of the world and make America safer as a result.
If anyone cares to make the case, it’s also another example in which American christian conservatives and Middle Eastern Islamist conservatives–despite claiming to be fierce enemies–yet again found themselves on the same side. They’re already quiet allies on issues like guns, gay rights, women’s sexual freedom, “political correctness,” religion in schools and the intervention of federal government in the affairs of local good old boys. In this case, neither side wanted a political rapprochement with the other: both American and Iranian conservatives benefit politically from treating their respective people not as fellow human beings but as agents of Satan, increasing the likelihood of a bloody war that would help strengthen radical conservative power in both countries.
Thankfully, both America and Iran chose a better path, and the success of more liberal forces in both nations is paying dividends.