WASHINGTON – In the days before President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election victory in Iran this past weekend, a video of one of his old speeches circulated on social media. Speaking at Iran’s parliament, Rouhani says dissidents against the new regime should be publicly hanged during Friday prayers as a message.
Rouhani was a younger man in this speech, in his early 40s. The revolution was also young. And many Iranian leaders of that era have taken the journey from revolution to reform. The reason Rouhani’s speech though is so relevant to Iran today is because, in public at least, the president of Iran has changed his tune. During his campaign, he told voters that he would be a “lawyer” defending their rights. He criticized his main rival, Ebrahim Raisi, for his role in ordering the executions of political dissidents. He promised gender equality and a freer press.
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