For those puzzled by the hardline show of strength, it’s worth taking a look back at some of the smarter commentary at the time of the Iranian parliamentary elections this winter. The White House echo chamber and the 27 year-old know-nothings that Ben Rhodes has on speed dial were gushing over the “triumph” of the moderates and spinning it as a big win for the White House policy—but those who looked under the hood saw something different. As Eli Lake put it at the time:

Beginning in January, the regime’s Guardian Council began purging any candidates who espoused the slightest deviation from the country’s septuagenarian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Candidates who favored releasing political prisoners — including the leaders of the Green Movement that many Iranians feel won the 2009 presidential elections — were disqualified. Even members of the Assembly of Experts, who had previously passed the vetting process, were disqualified. So too was the grandson of Iran’s first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. To paraphrase a former top U.S. negotiator in the Iran talks, Wendy Sherman, Iranians on Friday will have a choice between hardliners and hard hardliners.

Bottom line: the much ballyhooed ‘triumph of the moderates’ was another piece of White House spin, presumably pumped into the national consciousness by those helpful folks at Ploughshares.

The “triumph of the moderates” was one of the many lies used to sell Obama’s dangerous nuke deal with Iran.