Iranians are going to the polls today to elect their next president. The results of this election have been widely anticipated. The electorate has the chance to move the country away from its confrontational path with the international community set by the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The United States can help Iranians make that choice.
The ascent of hardliners in Iran was largely due to the failure of the reformist agenda. President Mohammad Khatami who presided over Iran between 1997 and 2005 had made big promises. He had promised to deal with waste and nepotism in the economy, open the political stage and ease-up state restrictions on social and cultural activities. His record on these domestic issues was patchy as his reformist agenda was stone-walled by a conservative judiciary and legislative vetting agency. But on the international stage, Khatami had a much better run. His "dialogue of civilisations" initiative was a response to the official deadlock between Iran and the United States.