Hassan Rouhani and the Myth of ‘Moderation’

July 2, 2013 7:50 am 4 comments

Newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Human beings have a massive capacity to ignore bad news, as if dispensing with information that is either inconvenient or detrimental to one’s life will simply make the problem go away. Thus, the mainstream media could perhaps be forgiven for having bought into the solicitous charm offensive that is currently being conducted by Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, in which the radical Islamic leader has fallaciously cast himself as a “moderate,” despite the overwhelming evidence that directly undermines this assertion. However, those actively working to advance the vital national security interests of the United States and of its one true ally in the Middle East, Israel, know better than to mask, mitigate or underestimate the truly evil inclinations of the clerical Islamic regime in Tehran. We have, quite literally, seen this movie before: it is called Argo.

In 1953 the Central Intelligence Agency helped secure the throne of the Shah of Iran, who became for the next quarter-century the much vaunted centerpiece of American foreign policy in the Middle East. On December 31, 1977, President Carter infamously described Iran’s leadership as “an island of stability in a sea of turmoil.” The C.I.A. repeatedly confirmed the president’s faulty assessment. Just a few weeks later, however, riots broke out in the streets of Tehran. Yet even as the riots spread, some of the C.I.A.’s top analysts issued a draft National Intelligence Estimate that predicted the Shah might survive for another decade.

But the C.I.A. was soon caught fast asleep. On January, 16, 1979, armed thugs and loyalists of Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, a seventy-seven-year-old religious fanatic who returned from exile to Tehran, over-ran the Shah and his minions. Less than a year later, the Carter administration ignored advice given to it by the C.I.A. (which had finally begun to grasp the realities) and let the Shah enter the United States to seek medical treatment. Two weeks later, a group of Iranian “student protesters” violently seized the American Embassy, where they held fifty-two Americans hostage for 444 days. Ayatollah Khomeini recognized the value of embracing a military confrontation with the United States as a major means of consolidating his power and endorsed the hostage-taking.

Six State Department officials were lucky enough to find refuge at the Canadian Embassy across town, where they stayed for seventy-nine days. In January of 1980, the C.I.A. conducted a successful covert operation and extracted the American officials. They did so by posing as a fake film production company that had traveled to Iran to film location shots for their feigned upcoming movie, Argo.

No such luck greeted the remaining hostages. A special operations mission – Operation Eagle Claw – failed spectacularly, when an American helicopter crashed into a transport plane in the Iranian desert. Eight special operations commandos were killed in the crash; and as a result, life became increasingly unpleasant for the hostages. The hostages were eventually freed by their captors on the day that President Carter left the White House – and just minutes after the new American president, Ronald Reagan, was sworn into office. The entire ordeal was a humiliating blow to America’s perceived military might.

Now, as then, the United States government is seemingly unable, or at least unwilling, to protect its own interests and allies in the Middle East from belligerent Iran. True, Congress has passed harsh economic sanctions targeting Iran’s banking, energy and export sectors, which together have conflated the country’s economy. It is also true that President Obama has allegedly authorized covert action to be conducted against Iran, including the implementation of the Stuxnet virus and the mysterious disappearance of some Iranian scientists. However, these efforts have neither brought down the current regime nor have they stopped Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has been involved in the Islamic revolution since its murderous inception. In 1978 Rouhani helped Khomeini found the regime and has since allegedly assisted in plotting the country’s vast terror operations. Most notably, Rouhani was Chairman of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 until 2005, during which time the Council is reported to have helped mastermind the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires and of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, like his presidential predecessors, Rouhani has demonstrated clear anti-American and anti-Semitic views. In 2002, for example, Rouhani conducted an interview with ABC News, in which he blamed the Jews for America’s foreign policy: “After September 11,” he said, “the hardliners, especially the Zionist lobby, became more active and, unfortunately, influenced Mr. Bush.” Rouhani also defended Hezbollah as “a legitimate political group” and called Israel “a terrorist nation.” Most recently, in an interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Rouhani denounced what he called Israel’s “inhumane policies and practices in Palestine and the Middle East.”

Finally, Rouhani is intimately involved in advancing Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. He served as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator under President Mohammad Khatami from August 2003 until October 2005. In 2004 Rouhani gave a speech to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, in which he explained how he was playing for time during the nuclear talks he was conducting with Britain, France and Germany (“EU-3”): “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the [nuclear conversion] facility in Isfahan. By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work there.” Rouhani’s deputy at the Supreme National Security Council, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, even described in a book his boss’ approach as the “widen the transatlantic gap” strategy.

And yet quixotically, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough responded eagerly to Hassan Rouhani’s election victory, announcing that the Obama administration is prepared – once again – to enter direct negotiations. “There’s a great opportunity for Iran,” said McDonough, “and the people of that storied country, to have the kind of future that they would, I think, justifiably want.”

It remains to be seen how Rouhani will conduct his term in office. But if the past is precedent, then the United States can ill-afford to sugarcoat the truly evil propensities of the Ayatollahs and of Rouhani. Doing so harms, rather than advances America’s national security interests in the Middle East.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has it right. In a recent interview with the Times of Israel, Mr. Baird said, “There’s always a reason to [delay action] another two or three months.” If the Iranian clerics want to demonstrate that they are operating in good faith “they can make meaningful progress [with the West],” he said. “These people don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.”

Mr. Baird’s analysis is spot on. Hassan Rouhani is a cunning terrorist mastermind. History shows us it would be foolish for the West to regard him as otherwise.

Mr. Raskas served in the Israel Defense Forces and is a research analyst for Secure America Now.

4 Comments

  • Proof-positive America’s presidents don’t require testicles for America to get screwed. Obama is as deficient as Carter. One would think Clinton had at least five, although Hillary found as little use for them as any other politician

  • The Americans will never understand the Middle Eastern mentality. The shah was massively unpopular due to his secret police and anyway Iranians are the kind of people who are never satisfied with what they have got. Like all the other Moslem Middle Easterners, they have got rid of “nurse” for “something worse”. They long for fundamentalism, because they don’t understand its implications, so when they have got it, they complaint that this is not what they wanted!

  • Whether Rouhani or any of the Ayatollahs or islamic “leaders” the day you trust these terrorists the West and Israel will regret this.DO NOT TRUST THESE MAD MEN.wolves in sheeps clothing

  • Whether Rouhani or any of the Ayatollahs or islamic “leaders” the day you trust these terrorists the West and Israel will regret this.DO NOT TRUST THESE MAD MEN.sheep in wolves clothing.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.