The Iranian Moderate has Spoken Belligerently

Last month a new President was elected in Iran. Leaders of the world rejoiced, openly at least, in their assertions to the media. Iranian President-elect Rohani was defined and touted as a moderate reformist because he built his campaign around promises to ease Iran’s tensions with the West, end international sanctions, allow greater freedom of the press and reduce government interference in private lives. Analysts of nuclear affairs saw his election as a positive step towards non-proliferation for in October 2003 he as a nuclear negotiator he had agreed to the suspension of enrichment, albeit that it only involved the insertion of uranium gas into centrifuges and not the manufacture of the centrifuges themselves.

On the eve of taking office the supposed moderate has now spoken, and his true colors have been revealed. Iranian President-elect Rohani has sent messages to Syria’s Bashar Assad reaffirming support for his ally. The official IRNA news agency cited Rohani as saying that close Iranian-Syrian ties will be able to confront “enemies in the region, especially the Zionist regime,” namely Israel. The Iranian moral support gave impetus not only to Assad but only to the disparate rebel forces. The enemy of my enemy would be my friend however Israel is not viewed as a friend by Syrian rebels; indeed there has been an influx of radical elements into Syria as the civil war rages. There appears to be ideological unity between Iran and the rebels against the common enemy Israel. Rockets fell on Israel’s Golan Heights yesterday as a few brave Syrian rebels crossed the border taking position in a deserted IDF outpost. IDF spokesmen still naively claim that this is not intended against Israel, but rather collateral damage.

Let it be known that Iran is not stepping back against its intention to annihilate Israel, nor is Iranian President-elect Rohani a moderate. In the same voice that Iran and Assad are backing peace talks they are also killing the negotiators. Yesterday gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad shot dead at least six mediators sent to try to reconcile warring sectarian groups in the province of Homs. The negotiators were from the National Reconciliation Committee, which the government set up to foster talks. The six negotiators had been trying to set up talks between the Sunni town of al-Zara and the Alawite town of Qameira, which clashed for several days last week. Let it not be said that Israel, and the rebels are the only victims of Iran and Assad. Last week a car bomb exploded in the neighbourhood of Bir al-Abed in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, a pro-Hezbollah area, wounding at least 50 people and raising fears of a further deterioration of the country’s security situation. Syrian rebels have said they would target Iranian backed Hezbollah sites in Lebanon in retaliation to the party’s intervention in their country supporting regime forces.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 100% correct in warning that Iran is still moving forward with its nuclear weapons program, one month after alleged moderate Rohani was elected. Netanyahu is 100% correct in calling for sanctions against the Islamic Republic to be strengthened, along with a credible threat of military action against Iran. Incorrectly the world believes that Rohani is a moderate. Dore Gold in an article two weeks ago revealed the well known facts about Rohani. Rohani was national security adviser under President Khatami when Iran concealed its vast nuclear program from the West; and when the Shahab-3 missile, which Iran hopes to arm with a nuclear warhead, became operational in the Iranian armed forces. At the time in 2004 Rohani openly spoke and explained that he was trying to keep the Iranian nuclear file out of the hands of the United Nations Security Council. In a speech released in 2006 Rohani made his famous statement that “while we were talking to the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan.”

The negotiations with the West, Rohani explained, allowed Iran to create a “calm environment,” and as a result “we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.” These statements were an admission of deception on the part of Rohani, what his mentor, Aytatollah Khomeini, called “taqiyeh” and called on his followers to adopt. There is no doubt that in previous positions Rohani negotiated circles around his British, French and German counterparts, even though today some of them still think they scored an enormous diplomatic victory for the West. There is no doubt that the spots on a leopard will not change, Rohani has all intentions to deceive. The Iranian Moderate has Spoken Belligerently and efforts must be intensified to stop Iran in their nuclear activities, in their support for Syria and in their support for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Dr. Glen Segell, FRGS, is Researcher at The Institute for National Security Studies Tel Aviv, Lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and Senior Researcher for the Ariel Research Center for Defense and Communication

About the Author
Dr Glen Segell is Fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies, University of Haifa.
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