Anyone who thinks that the Iranian Regime has become more moderate since the Iranian Nuclear Deal in 2015 (or indeed, since the so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013) is sadly wrong and there is evidence to prove it.
Most statistics on this relate to the number of executions (3,000 in the past four years) for minor offences like taking drugs or protesting against the Regime, but the non-profit group, United Against a Nuclear Iran, has made a helpful compare and contrast analysis of the Twitter feeds of the current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
This is most evident in their responses to the United States during preliminary talks on the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, which lifted certain economic sanctions on Iran in order to get Iran to disband its nuclear missiles programme.
In October 2013, Rouhani tweeted a perfectly rational statement that doesn’t seem out of place on a president’s Twitter page: “One of the slogans the Iranian nation has embraced is that of "constructive interaction with the world." #IranTalks”
Khamenei wrote: “Don’t trust an enemy who smiles on 1 hand, #US smiles & expresses a desire for talks but on the other, they say all options are on the table.”
In November of that same year, Rouhani again posted what seemed like a rational statement about cooperation, as one might expect from someone who is attempting to get crippling economic sanctions on his country lifted.
He wrote: “We want to rebuild and improve our relations to European and North American countries on a basis of mutual respect.”
While Khamenei wrote: “The #US government is #untrustworthy, irrational and a #promise_breaker.”
These tweets prove that no matter what Rouhani tries to tell you or how persuasive his “charm offensive” may be; the Iranian Regime has not become more moderate. Khamenei, the person who makes all the decisions is not a moderate, and therefore no-one in the Regime can be.
That is why, no matter what you hear in the coming weeks about a struggle between moderates and hardliners in the Iranian elections, you must remember that the Iranian people have no path to freedom under the mullahs.
They cannot choose the lesser of two evils (and by extension, neither can the international community) because the puppet master is unelected and rules for life.
The only true path for the Iranian people is through the support of the Iranian Resistance who believe in a secular, non-nuclear, and democratic Iran.