Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad warmly congratulated Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on his re-election on Friday with comfortable majority of 57 percent.
Assad praised Rouhani for earning “the trust the Iranian people gave him to continue bolstering Iran’s position and role,” according to a statement carried by Syrian state news agency SANA on Saturday.
Assad – who over the last two years has steadily reconquered large swathes of rebel-held territory with the military backing of Russia, Iran and Shi’a terrorist organizations like Hezbollah – stressed the need to “continue working and cooperating with the Islamic Republic of Iran to strengthen the security and stability of both countries, the region and the world.”
Rouhani used a keynote victory speech to warn the international community that the Tehran regime will react angrily to outside pressure to end its destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
Iran “is not ready to accept humiliation and threat,” Rouhani declared in a televised speech on Saturday. “This is the most important message that our nation expects to be heard by all, particularly world powers.”
Rouhani tempered that statement by saying, “Today, Iran – prouder than ever – is ready to promote its relations with the world based on mutual respect and national interests.” But he offered no assurances regarding international concerns over Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program and its backing for Assad.
Rouhani’s triumph on Friday was driven in significant part by the votes of younger Iranians frustrated with the country’s economic crisis. Over 60 percent of Iran’s population of 83 million is composed of under-30s; according to the World Bank, at least one in four young Iranians is unemployed. “In the same way we campaigned for Rouhani, we will demand he keeps his promises,” said one young Iranian at a victory celebration in Tehran.
But Iranian opposition activists were skeptical that Rouhani would introduce genuine changes in his second term.
“In a very young society, like the Iranian one is, you end up with severely high unemployment in a dictatorial atmosphere – demography and democracy are related to each other,” Saba Farzan – a German-Iranian democracy activist and director of Foreign Policy Circle, a strategy think tank in Berlin – told The Algemeiner on Sunday.
Farzan said that Rouhani’s “re-election will disappoint the Iranian people just the same way his presidency has disappointed them over the past four years. He failed to deliver on every single policy field because the roots of these difficulties are systemic.”
“Add to this Iran’s dire human rights record and its radical ideological foreign policy, and it becomes obvious that nothing will change for the better while this system continues,” Farzan concluded.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which closely monitors the Iranian regime’s promotion of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, said that Rouhani’s re-election compelled the US and the international community to “be vigilant.”
“We cannot forget that under this so-called ‘moderate’ leader, there was no slowdown in Iran’s aggressive regional policy, including state sponsorship of terrorism; active participation in war crimes committed in Syria; and unceasing belligerence against Israel that manifested through financial and material support for terror organizations along with an unrelenting stream of antisemitic propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
“It is important that the US Administration has been tough in holding Iran accountable through enhanced sanctions related to its missile program and human rights outrages. We call on the international community to be vigilant and continue to press for real policy, democratic and social reform,” Greenblatt added.
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner Ben Cohen