Ali Khamenei

Moderation in Iran? Don't get your hopes up

Moderation in Iran? Don't get your hopes up

Iranians go to the polls Friday to elect a new parliament and Assembly of Experts, the body that — at least on paper — chooses the next supreme leader. The world is watching to see if the reformist camp will gain ground, but expectations aren't high.

That's just as well. Reality, not idealized hopes or fantasies, needs to guide our view of what's possible when it comes to liberalizing and democratizing authoritarian societies. And that goes double when it comes to thinking that external factors, such as the nuclear agreement Iran and world powers completed last year, will produce significant internal change in the Islamic Republic. Indeed, for the foreseeable future,...