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Iran: Khamenei's 'Principles' for 'Final Victory'

No matter who wins the Iranian presidential election, the trajectory of Iran will not change. If you read the Financial Times article from Tuesday on the rancor among the candidates, 'Voters grapple with foreign policy claims', and get through the whole thing, you should take attentive note to the last three paragraphs. And so should the candidates.

Whether voters will be swayed by assertions that Iran's pride has been severely wounded remains to be seen. But the election has at least unleashed a rancorous debate over the country's direction, at a time when the US is hoping for dialogue with Tehran.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has often backed Mr Ahmadi-Nejad's approach, has taken notice. Last week he responded to the criticism by insisting the "honour of the nation" was "reflected in the world".

"I do not accept the sayings of those who imagine that our nation has become belittled in the world be-cause of its commitment to its principles," he said. "This path will continue until final victory."

Those principles are embodied within its support and leadership in international terrorism. And it is illustrative that the regime's goals are not a 'state of the state' or a condition for its people, but rather a "final victory." In every victory, someone must, by definition, be defeated. That's you, the non-Muslim Westerner and Israeli Jew.

No matter the president, the Supreme Leader is precisely that: Supreme in Iran. And the principles consistent with that high position, be it held by Ayatollah Khomeini or Ayatollah Khamenei, will remain so.

To the extent that the West chooses a candidate to brand 'moderate,' one should ask: Moderate by which standards, ours or the regime's?

And we should never forget that the Guardian Council, which vets all candidates on every ballot, ensures that no true moderates (by Western standards) ever makes that ballot.

The debate in the West over who should be backed in the Iranian election is a fool's errand. The Iranian president - who will never be a true moderate under this regime's hijacking of the democratic process - cannot change the trajectory of the Iranian state and regime. And the Supreme Leader will remain.

We should hope that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wins. For as one candidate said, he has been "a miracle and invaluable divine gift." But not because of his radicalism, but rather because of his preference to express it openly. That is the principle difference between Ahmadinejad and the West's uber-moderate, former president Khatami. Ahmadinejad wears no mask for the West, while Khatami is and was a stage show.

Clarity. In all things, clarity. The bad will be bad and the good will be good. Without clarity, the foolish cannot understand the difference.

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