Iran presidential poll: Yes to moderation, no to confrontation

Tehran, May 21, IRNA -- The Middle East, a ripe ground for unexpected, renewing developments, witnessed this week two more outstanding political episodes; one in Iran where people voted for moderation and the other in Saudi Arabia hosting US president to bolster military ties.

The Iranian people went to the polls on Friday May 19, to elect a new head of state at the 12th round of presidential election in the country since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 in Iran.

Almost concurrently and one day later, US President Donald Trump in his first foreign visit arrived in Saudi Arabia accompanied by his team to, among other things, bolster US arms sales to Saudi Arabia worth nearly 110 billion dollars, according to the reports.

Results of the presidential election in Iran soon showed a large turnout – more than 70 percent – and the reelection of incumbent President Hassan Rouhani who, alongside with the government of “prudence and hope”, successfully put an end to paralyzing Western-imposed sanctions by striking a landmark nuclear agreement with major world powers hence restoring Iran’s stance on the global scene as a influential player.

While Trump was linking arms with king Salman of Saudi Arabia, swaying in the 'Ardha', the traditional sword dancing, possibly the same sword the Saudis behead their opponents in the public, people in Iran, hand-in-hand were celebrating in the streets all across the country the victory of a moderate President.

Trump chose to visit Saudi Arabia as his first foreign destination following his election as the 45th President of the United States, and he did so despite the fact that the kingdom was deeply involved in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US soil that left around 3,000 people killed.

Paradoxically, the US president, during his meetings with Saudi officials reportedly pledged to 'counter violent extremism, disrupt the financing of terrorism and advance defense cooperation'!

In Iran, however, Hassan Rouhani, the President-elect of the country, described his reelection to the office as a “victory [for] moderation over extremism”.

Rouhani said that “a new opportunity has been created for those who truly respect democracy, interaction and free dialogue”.

This is while the multibillion-dollar arms deal agreed upon between Washington and Riyadh will bode for nothing but fueling regional crises and proxy wars with arms expected to fall into the wrong hands of terrorists.

No doubt, the unarmed men, women and children in Yemen and elsewhere have to pay the price for the expansionist US-led policies and the military coalitions it creates with the help of its regional proxies to guarantee its so-called interests thousands of miles away from the United States.

Apparently, the US and its regional allies are unmindful that stability is not going to be driven from military coalitions but from the people who opt for constructive engagement with the world.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a Twitter post following President Rouhani’s reelection that, “We drive stability not from coalitions, but from our people, who – unlike many – do vote.'

Unlike Saudi Arabia, where elections are never held, Iranians overwhelmingly chose a non-violent path to bring about progress and peace.

The massive turnout in Iran's recent elections, once again proved that Iranians still are supportive of diplomacy, detente and moderation and they do not follow a confrontational line against other nations.

'Iranians must be respected and ready to engage,' Zarif tweeted.