In our latest Toronto Sun op-ed published on June 30, HRC counters the prevailing narrative presented by the mainstream media claiming that Iranian President-elect Hasan Rowhani is a reformer, whereas in reality he’s nothing more than a regime insider.
“Iran’s New President a Regime Insider, Not a Reformer”
The prevailing narrative presented by the media about Iranian President-elect Hasan Rowhani is that he’s a reformer, not a regime insider, who will impose moderate policies. Some Canadian commentators have argued that Iran’s newly minted president should be welcomed and engaged with immediately. After all, they argue that Rowhani is an educated and cultured cleric, a man who speaks several languages, and is seen as a centrist. While this optimism abounds, it’s based solely on wishful thinking and not the pessimistic substance which reigns supreme.
In reality, the Iranian regime used Rowhani in nuclear negotiations during the Khatami period to put on a moderate face while expanding their nuclear program. Rowhani boasted of his duplicity just weeks ago saying his tactics essentially split the EU and US so that Iran could expand quietly. It appears Iran is trying to pull this same trick again by using Rowhani as window dressing to portray its leadership as transparent and conciliatory, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Importantly, Rowhani is not in control of Iran’s nuclear trajectory and is in a mostly ceremonial position, whereas Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards decide the true fate of Iran’s nuclear program. Even so, Rowahnii used his first news conference to rule out halting Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
So who is Hasan Rowhani? He’s a man who supports domestic repression, called for the execution of pro-democracy student protesters in 1999, he openly supports the Assad regime and its murder of 100,000 Syrians, and was reportedly on a special government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing of Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds.
The farcical Iranian “elections” that Rowhani won saw only a narrow field of candidates, a half-dozen who were handpicked in a tightly controlled contest to determine who will be subservient to the desires of the Supreme Leader. Prior to the elections, Iran’s state-funded broadcaster-cum-propaganda outlet, Press TV, aired reports that tried to brand Rowhani as a rational and pliant conservative. Just as nations have multi-million dollar branding campaigns, the images of Iran’s future leaders were moulded by its spin-doctors.
Rowhani is a Trojan horse and he’s being used to project an aura of moderation while Iran goes full speed towards acquiring atomic weapons. Foreign analysts believe Iran’s using Rowhani as a poster boy for reform, is just a ruse that will make it more difficult for the international community to impose further crippling sanctions needed to impede Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.
Israel and the international community fear that Tehran’s illicit nuclear program is a cover for it to one day develop an atomic bomb. That is why a line must be drawn to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United Nations recently that the world must draw a red line for Iran, threatening that if Iran crosses the “red line” by getting to the final stage in making a bomb where Iran is 90 per cent along the path of having sufficient weapons-grade material, war will ensue. An Iranian weapon of mass destruction will not only destabilize the region, but it will pose an existential threat for the Jewish state and will be menacing to the world.
Iran should be judged more by the actions of its leaders, than by the words of its figureheads. A new opening to a deal with Iran can only occur when Tehran capitulates to the international demands of its nuclear program and when it ceases its support for international terror.
Mike Fegelman is Executive Director of HonestReporting Canada, a non-profit organization which ensures fair and accurate Canadian media coverage of Israel (www.HonestReporting.ca)