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Iran's president-elect is an odd 'moderate'

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mainstream Western media praising Hassan Rowhani, Iran's president-elect, as a “voice of moderation” and a “reformist” no doubt please the radical clerics who actually rule in Tehran. The more he's seen as something other than what he is — one of the mullahs' own — the more easily they can continue developing nuclear weapons by stringing along an America distracted by his election.

That makes his upcoming presidency a variation on the sort of distraction tactic that Mr. Rowhani himself has bragged about using in the past as Iran's top nuclear negotiator, according to former Pentagon adviser Michael Rubin, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Rowhani might use rhetoric less extreme on its face but there's no reason to expect genuine change for the better once he takes office in August. Long part of Tehran's inner circles of power, he's beholden to the radicals who call the shots — and Iran shows no signs of actually changing course.

Indeed, just last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran had installed advanced nuclear centrifuges that can speed its accumulation of bomb-grade nuclear material. And Iran also is bringing an alternate source of such material — a heavy-water nuclear reactor — online soon.

At best, Rowhani's election signals a superficial change in style — not a change in substance. He's simply the new face of Iran's nuclear ambitions, which remain as dangerous as ever.

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