Tag Archives: Hassan Rouhani

With Love From Iran: Egg on Your Face

Hassan Rouhani

The Iranian election of Hassan Rouhani is the ushering in of a new era of peace and transformation for the Islamic Republic, at least to hear the world press tell it, and the Obama administration is right on board. Unfortunately, it turns out that the politics of empty rhetoric is the same in the Middle East as it is in the West, and while Rouhani may appear softer and gentler, there’s nothing new coming out of Iran.

You could hardly blame Obama for jumping on the Rouhani bandwagon, what with the Iranian’s campaign slogan of “change and prudence.” It’s almost as if Rouhani attended a liberal buzzword training course in Foggy Bottom, not to mention looking oddly similar to Santa.


The State Department, for its part, is all too eager to believe their policies of engagement with the world’s most tyrannical actually works, especially after the catastrophe in Syria.

Those who keep their eyes on such things may remember the State Department’s new policy in 2010, after the blackout of “engagement” under Bush, to send an ambassador to Damascus. This was despite Syria’s refusal to cooperate with the IAEA. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, “we’re putting an ambassador in Damascus so we can have the kind of direct conversation and engagement that we think is necessary in the region in the 21st century.” But that didn’t really work out so well.

But if the Obama knows anything, it’s that when you find yourself in a hole, keep digging. Now’s the time for the same sort of “engagement” with Tehran’s new president. Of course, the idea that anything has changed in Iran ignores the fact that there’s been no change in Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, or in the Guardian Council which pre-approves presidential candidates before they go before the voters. But, in diplomacy, ignorance is bliss, and there may be no one more ignorant than Rouhani.

Take his UN speech, in which he referred to Iran as an anchor of peace in the ocean of instability that is the Middle East. Never mind Iran arming and training Hezbollah, and arming and training Hamas, and arming Iraqi insurgents to kill Americans, and arming Afghani insurgents to kill Americans, and the execution of political dissidents… Never mind these things, Rouhani assures us that Iran’s nuclear program won’t develop weapons, which would “contradict [their] religious convictions.” Exactly why this form of indiscriminate killing would contradict Iranian religious convictions, no one’s quite sure, but it sure does sound good on the world stage!

The West would be well served to greet the new boss the same as the old boss. Empty rhetoric aside, Iran has demonstrated none of the long-held conditions for engagement, but has promised their centrifuges will continue to spin. Iran gets that much closer to her nuclear weapon, and the West only ends up with radioactive egg on her face.


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Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to attack Iran

DonkeyHotey (CC)

DonkeyHotey (CC)

While President Obama is signalling that he’s willing to talk with Iran’s president, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is calling for an attack. While he admits that it’s not likely that he’ll get enough support to carry out any military action against Iran, Graham is insisting that it is something that the U.S. must do, to protect our interests in the region – or more importantly, to protect Israel.

“The mixed message and the debacle called Syria can’t be repeated when it comes to Iran,” Graham continued. “So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get a bipartisan coalition together. We’re going to put together a use-of-force resolution allowing our country to use military force as a last resort to stop the Iranian nuclear program, to make sure they get a clear signal that all this debacle about Syria doesn’t mean we’re confused about Iran.”

Beyond the issue of involving the U.S. in yet another war, one issue with Graham’s proposal would be defining exactly what “last resort” is, especially in light of the current problem in Syria, with Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons. While Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did define what the limit should be in regard to Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, that may not be the line the U.S. would want to draw. While attempts at diplomacy are being considered now with the President Hassan Rouhani, it’s also true that any talks are not likely to cause Iran to stop the centrifuges that are rapidly moving toward the point of producing weapon-level nuclear material.

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Obama willing to meet Iran’s Rouhani at UN


The White House has expressed the President Obama is willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN, offering the possibility of warming relations between the two nations that have been at odds since the 1979 revolution in Iran. This is undoubtedly in response to a less militant veneer that Rouhani has brought to his office, since the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s departure. The change in posture in Iran has been credited to Rouhani being more “moderate” than his predecessor, however as far as Iran’s nuclear aspirations are concerned, it is important to remember that he had been instrumental in advancing the nuclear program in that nation for years.

While Obama may be open to trusting the new leadership in Iran, Israel is not so sure. The Israelis are acutely aware of Rouhani’s history in regard to Iran’s nuclear program, and are assuming that the new president is going to attempt to use a softer touch to get what the leaders in his nation want – nuclear capability. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also pointed out that Rouhani’s claims that he does not intend to continue work on acquiring a nuclear weapon are “deceptive”.

“The Iranians are spinning stories in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The true test is not in Rowhani’s words, but in the actions taken but the Iranian regime, which—while Rowhani is giving interviews—continues to push its nuclear program.”