On Saturday, after Iranians turned out en masse to vote in Iran’s presidential elections, the tallied votes were called in favor Hassan Rouhani, a long-time politician, lawyer and cleric. International media have proclaimed Rouhani Iran’s “Reformist candidate”, his politics a “moderate” alternative to the hardline policies of Ahmadinajed. Celebrations in support of the President-elect have flooded have overwhelmed Tehran, according to media reports, and Iran’s liberal voters see Rouhani as a new beginning for Iranian politics.

It will be difficult for the President-elect to institute real change under Supreme Leader Ali Khameni, who commands his own unit of the Revolutionary Guard and will be able to supersede presidential edicts. The problems that perpetuate discrimination and persecution against ethnic and religious minorities in Iran are systematic and will be difficult to overcome for Rouhani, especially as conservatives and hardliners dominate all sectors of government, religious and democratic. Rouhani will have a hard time asserting his “moderate” agenda.

That said, it was under Ahmadinejed’s leadership that Iran saw a rise in repression of minority groups and crackdowns on activists, journalists and academics, particularly those of the Baha’i faith. Rouhani’s next few years will be interesting, even if they are ineffective, and it’s worth a study of his platform on ethnic and religious minorities. The problem, however, is that Rouhani hasn’t said much on the topic, except for this:

“I do not set differences between Articles 3,15, 19 and 22 of the Iranian Constitution. The Iranian nation is one people, and one who puts the differences between Kurds, Turks, Baluchis, Turkmens, Arabs and Persians himself is not an Iranian.”

It’s a vague remark and a half-hearted attempt at diplomacy. It’s likely Iran’s Baha’is — or any of Iran’s minorities — will not see any strong action from Rouhani in their favor, but they may see an alleviation of persecution of their communities. Iran may have elections but that doesn’t make it democratic — the litmus test for democracy is the equal rights of all its citizens, including minorities.