Banafsheh Zand addresses the issue of Who Is Hassan Rouhani? for The Gatestone Institute:
As a negotiator, Rohani is triumphantly duplicitous, known to lull his non-Iranian counterparts into a false sense of calm. Despite all the talk that, during his term as a nuclear negotiator, Iran appeared more cooperative with the international community, Rohani bragged about how he had tricked the West. In April of 2006 during a speech at the Assembly of Clerics, Rouhani was caught on tape, boasting that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake -- a key stage in the nuclear fuel process -- at its Isfahan plant, but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot. "From the outset," he said, "the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them!'"Read the whole thing.
|Hassan Rohani -- What's not to trust? |
Credit: Wiki Commons
One might wonder whether it is Rohani's expertise in manipulating the West -- and not his "moderation" -- that won him the backing of Khamenei in the hand-picked list of candidates that Iranians were told to choose from.
Instead of applying their own conception of what a reformist is, the West should pay attention to what Rohani, as head of the Islamic National Security Council, said in response to the 1999 Tehran University uprisings:
These students are too pathetic and worthless for us to have to begin changing our directives. The continuance of this mess is not acceptable for our regime and the people. I issued strict orders against these elements [the students] to confront and severely deal with these opportunists. Wherever they are, we will handle them and suppress them. People will witness what today's security and disciplinary forces, the heroic members of the Basij (auxiliary militia) will do to these rabble-rousers and thugs, if they dare to imagine that they can continue their so-called peaceful campaign. The agent that has united our people today, is simply indestructible; that agent is Islam and Islamic rule which is the absolute symbol of the Supreme Leadership.So much for moderation.
At The Optimistic Conservative, J.E. Dyer analyzes the liklihood of Rohani's success in pulling the wool over the West's collective eyes: Rohani: A “moderate” game-changer?
Rohani’s election positions the regime to cater – superficially – to reform-minded voters in Iran, while improving Iran’s prospects in international negotiations. There is no doubt that the international media will provide governments with a cover story about Rohani and “reform” in Iran. They are already doing it. With Rohani depicted as a moderate and a reformer, nations like Germany, India, Japan, and Brazil – nations which have been conflicted on the sanctions against Iran, and have trod a convoluted course to both honor and circumvent them – will see a handy justification for modifying their stances.Read the whole thing.
...Bringing Iran in from the cold opens up a lot of options for European and Asian calculations. Wanting to do business with Iran, and to gain a regional position through engaging with her, is a no-brainer from the perspective of at least a dozen European and Asian nations. Americans may not see it; Westerners in Brussels may not see it; but everyone else does: the world is changing. The old post-World War II narrative of security needs and priorities is all but dead. The Obama administration in the United States now effectively asks the world to run in a harness that doesn’t fit anymore – and the world is looking for reasons to stop doing it.
Enlightened self-interest will rule the day -- one has only to look at the exceptions granted within the sanctions placed on Iran, not to mention how countries like China, Germany and India have continued trade.
Iran has, and will continue, to play the West with consummate skill.
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