The Obama Administration is close to announcing a deal with the government of Iran on their nuclear program. The deal will include some weak language on delay in the acquisition of a nuclear weapon by Iran and the dropping of all sanctions against the regime by the US and its European allies. This will be a disaster, in my opinion. The New York Times has another editorial today which includes delighted anticipation of the deal and more invective against Prime Minister Netanyahu who opposes the deal.
“In a way, the administration has already won,” said Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East adviser to Democratic and Republican administrations. “If you get agreement by the end of March, it will be historic in nature, it will have demonstrated that the administration is prepared to willfully stand up to Republican opposition in Congress and to deal with members of its own party who have doubts, and has withstood Israeli pressure.”
The “historic agreement” will fulfill the ambitions of the allegedly “moderate” Iranian president Rouhani. The Weekly Standard has a nice biography of Rouhani ( which means “pious” or “a cleric” in Arabic.) by some people who know the story and who can use Persian language sources.
Yet since 1979, throughout his entire political career, he has systematically violated what even hard-nosed Islamic jurists might consider sacred obligations that rulers owe their subjects.
Fereydoun or Rouhani? Theologian or doctor of laws? Restorer of traditional Persian civility and patron saint of the riyal, Iran’s currency, or systematic violator of the rights of man and false prophet? More-or-less trustworthy, pragmatic interlocutor with the West or deceptive enemy? Who really is the man at the helm of the self-declared “government of prudence and hope”? What is his story?
The story is about what one would expect from this bunch. He was also involved in the “Iran-Contra” scandal of the Reagan Administration where he again played “moderate.”
He was one of the “moderates” that CIA memoranda to then-director William Casey said were on the other end of the weapons pipeline. According to Rafsanjani’s memoir, on November 3, 1985, Rouhani reported to his boss that he would soon be inspecting the newly delivered Hawk missiles, which the clerical regime had demanded in return for some half-dozen Americans held hostage in Lebanon (the number of hostages changed from time to time). In March 1986, according to Rafsanjani, Rouhani suggested that Iran should extort more Hawk missiles in return for the hostages. Rafsanjani authorized his deputy to help with “administering the political issues and the negotiations” with the visiting officials from the Reagan White House.
He has a long history as an opportunist, inherited perhaps from his father who had an instinct for choosing the right patron. He also has a fine sense of revenge, arranging the execution of Iranians who provoked him before the Revolution.
Rouhani’s autobiography stresses his intention to reorganize and enforce discipline in the new army. Other sources, however, depict him as vengeful and ruthless, a commissar less interested in revitalizing the army than in getting even with the officers who’d ridiculed him when he was in uniform. By July 1980, “Fidel Castro” had purged 12,000 servicemen. Rouhani even demanded abolishing the Army Special Operations unit and called for the public hanging of officers to terrorize the military, though Mostafa Chamran, defense minister in Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan’s moderate transitional government, prevented this.
He even arranged the assassination of a professor who had ridiculed him as a student years before.
Rouhani’s autobiography, which details Mazlouman’s sins against Islam and insults to Rouhani, actually explains, almost glibly, why Mazlouman was assassinated. “Among the professors of the faculty, one of the professors who would in class attack the laws of Islam, was Reza Mazlouman,” Rouhani remarks, adding, “who several years ago was killed in Paris.” What Rouhani is surely doing here, with the approval of the Ministry of Intelligence’s ghostwriters, is bragging. He finally won his classroom debate.
This is who Obama and Kerry believe they will sign an “Historic Agreement.”
And Bibi Netanyahu will not stand in the way. He and Israel are to be punished.
The tense conversation came on the same day the White House announced that Denis R. McDonough, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, would deliver the keynote address on Monday to the annual conference of J Street, a pro-Israel group aligned with Democrats that has been fiercely critical of Mr. Netanyahu.
The moves confirmed that instead of acting quickly to smooth over tensions with Mr. Netanyahu that burst to the fore in the weeks running up to the Israeli elections, the White House is stoking the acrimony.
What is less clear is whether the approach will lead to a lasting policy shift or was merely a public round of venting.
“J Street” is of course not “Pro-Israel.”
With J Street, the issue is not merely its views but its preposterous actions. Hanegbi must be conscious of how ridiculous it is to describe as “pro-Israel” an organization which actively lobbies the US government to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel.
I feel we are on a train with an engineer who is determined to take this curve far over the speed limit and who will brook no interference from Congress, Israel or any other doubter. This is an historic mistake and Israel is the modern equivalent of Czechoslovakia in 1938 which was destroyed to appease Herr Hitler.