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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The Correct Choice in Iran Election? A Boycott

June 23, 2005

I found "Mullah Democracy" (editorial, June 21) rather presumptuous for suggesting that the Iranian people should vote for Hashemi Rafsanjani in Friday's runoff election because he was the lesser of the two evils.

True, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has no virtue to speak of, having been a Revolutionary Guard commando and directly involved in the killing of dissidents at home and abroad.

As evil as he is, however, he only carried out Rafsanjani's dirty work when he was president in the 1990s.

The business of liquidating exiled dissidents abroad and eliminating intellectuals at home became official policy on Rafsanjani's watch. Rafsanjani is a terror master in his own right. Neither is going to make any difference when it comes to improving the lives of ordinary Iranians, curtailing their fundamentalist brand of Islam from spreading to the rest of the Middle East and halting the procurement of nuclear weapons.

The correct, and only, choice for Iranians is an all-out boycott.

After a quarter of a century of repression, terror and pillage, it is time for fundamental change. Anything short of that is to betray the Iranians, as happened eight years ago with Mohammad Khatami.

Ali Safavi

President

Near East Policy Research

Washington

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