Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
WASHINGTON – Former national security adviser, former nuclear negotiator, a decades-old friendship with the supreme leader – Hassan Rohani is as Iranian establishment as it gets.
Which is why, some Iran watchers say, he may be an invaluable asset in the quest to reduce tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
In his first remarks following his election to the Iranian presidency last week, Rohani sustained the moderate image that helped sweep him into office with more than 50 percent of the vote, obviating the need for a runoff against one of the other five candidates.
Rohani, 64, described Iran’s parlous relationship with the United States as “an old wound which must be healed,” according to The New York Times translation of his news conference on Monday, while also defending Iran’s “inalienable rights” to enrich uranium. He intimated, however, that he was willing to make the country’s nuclear program more transparent.
Skeptics were not impressed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Rohani did not present a change from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his predecessor who was notorious for anti-Semitic rantings, Holocaust denial and oft-repeated wish that Israel would one day disappear.
Both men, Netanyahu said, emerged from a small pool of candidates selected by a council that answers to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
“Among those whose candidacies [Khameini] allowed was elected the candidate who was seen as less identified with the regime, who still defines the state of Israel as ‘the great Zionist Satan,’ ” Netanyahu said Sunday.
The Obama administration also expressed skepticism, though unlike Netanyahu, it held out hope that Rohani’s moderated rhetoric represented an opening.
Rohani was born in northern Iran to a religious family that sent him to seminary when he was 12. He went on to earn advanced law degrees at Glasgow Caledonian University and to publish two books in English on Islamic jurisprudence. Until his election he was the managing editor of two scholarly foreign affairs periodicals, in English and in Farsi.
For much of his career, Rohani has been deeply embedded in Iran’s corridors of power. Ten of the sixteen entries under “professional experience” in his English-language biography posted on the website of the think tank he has led since 1992, the Center for Strategic Research, detail his security establishment credentials.
Rohani served two stints as national security adviser, from 1989 to 1997 and 2000 to 2005, and was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005.
During his mid-2000s ascent under the reform-minded President Mohammad Khatami, Western diplomats speculated that Rohani was being groomed for the presidency, noting both his facility for engagement with the West and ties to the conservative establishment and the supreme leader. Rohani is fluent in English, along with several other Western languages, and has an active presence on Twitter.
Western diplomats who led nuclear talks with Rohani in the mid-2000s told reporters at the time that they saw Rohani as someone coming to the table ready to forge deals. It was during Rohani’s term as chief nuclear negotiator that Iran suspended its enrichment of uranium, although talks ultimately foundered over the extent of the Iranian suspension.
Rohani no longer favors such a suspension, but has suggested he is ready to make Iran’s nuclear program more transparent as a means of lifting Iran’s isolation.
“The best way to characterize Rohani is that he realizes the extent of the crisis facing the Iranian regime due to multiple reasons, but also because of the nuclear program and sanctions,” said Alireza Nader, an Iran policy analyst at the Rand Corp., a think tank with close ties to the Pentagon. “Rohani is not someone who believes Iran must sacrifice everything for resistance.”
Skeptics emphasized Rohani’s establishment ties, which according to the Times date to 1967, when he met and befriended Khameini on a long train ride.
Khameini, as many have noted, remains the ultimate power in Iran. But Nader said Rohani’s establishment past and the swell of moderates who carried him into office over hardline regime favorites such as Saeed Jalili, also a former nuclear negotiator, could position him as a bridge between the two camps.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
Australian police have questioned the former principal of a Haredi boys’ school in Melbourne over allegations of decades-old child sex abuse. Rabbi Avrohom Glick, a senior official inside the Chabad-Lubavitch community, made a voluntary statement to police and was released, his lawyer said Monday. The allegations, which Rabbi Glick vehemently denies, are understood to date […]
The Dutch PM and foreign minister have been causing a tumult wherever they go in Israel.
Accused Nazi war criminal Hans Lipschis was released from custody in Germany after being diagnosed with dementia. The arrest warrant against Lipschis, 94, was canceled Friday due to a psychiatrist’s determination that the alleged former SS guard at Auschwitz was suffering from the early stages of the illness and therefore might not sufficiently understand and […]
A New York City councilman tweeted about a new knockout attack days after a Jewish council offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of attack perpetrators. A 20-year-old woman was hit in the back of the head and fell to the ground while walking in the Flatbush section on Saturday afternoon, according to […]
Today is the 13th anniversary of the murder of Binyamin Ze’ev Kahane and his wife Talya. Binyamin was the son of Rabbi Meir Kahane. The couple were killed by Palestinian Authority terrorists from the PLO’s “Force 17″ who sprayed 60 bullets into their car as the family were driving near Ofra in 2000. A number […]
Here’s Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte laying a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance on Sunday, during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem. But why is he wearing a yarmulke? It doesn’t look like he’s about to bench or say Shma Yisrael. Will he take the yarmulke along to Ramallah, […]
Some Hillel students reject Hillel’s standards and partners. But they still want Hillel funds for their (anti-Israel) activities.
An Irish company will purchase Given Imaging Ltd., an Israeli firm that developed a swallowable camera to diagnose problems in the digestive tract. Covidien Plc agreed to acquire Given Imaging from shareholders of IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. for about $860 million, it was reported Sunday. Given Imaging is the inventor of the PillCam, a swallowed […]
Abbas and Peres’ mastery of manipulation forced them to profusely mourn the death of Mandela and at the same time robbed them of being able to do a bit of soul searching.
Either Kerry is smoking something weird, Livni is selling Israel up the creek or Bennett is about to break up the government. Kerry: We are close than ever to an agreement; Bennett: Start annexing.
If the United States is so concerned about Israel’s security, why did it pressure Netanyahu into resuming “peace talks” by freeing PA murders who freely say they have “no regrets” for killing Jews?
The proceeds from the property sale may not be used cover the synagogue’s financial needs.
Netanyahu finally has learned to repeat the same and telling points over and over: Abbas must view Israel as a Jewish state and Obama must see that a diplomatic solution in Iran requires a military threat.
Cuban Jewish leaders met with imprisoned Jewish-American contractor on the last day of Hanukkah, two days after Gross marked his fourth year in jail in Cuba. “During the encounter we could see that he was in better spirits, more physically recovered,” according to a statement from the Beth Shalom Temple in Havana according to the […]
None of us support violence and we found out about the story in the media, just like every one else.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party, has come up with a fantastic plan to solve Israel’s apartment shortage but it has one large problem – a cost of approximately $14 billion, according to an estimate by Globes business newspaper. That may be par for the course for the former journalist who didn’t […]
WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping the enemy of one’s enemy truly does become a friend.
WASHINGTON – Is the U.S. government shutdown, which was still in effect as we went to press Tuesday evening, undermining the sanctions that helped bring Iran to Geneva this week for talks aimed at ending the standoff over its nuclear program?
WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a blunt speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, warned that Israel was ready to go it alone against Iran should it come close to obtaining a nuclear weapon.
WASHINGTON – Pro-Israel officials rolled their eyes this week in response to the opposing spins about their support for President Obama’s drive to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for his purported use of chemical weapons against his own people.
WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been telling his American friends that the purported moderation of Iran’s new president is a ploy aimed at relieving international pressure and buying the Islamic Republic more time to cross the nuclear threshold.
WASHINGTON – Israeli settler leader Dani Dayan has made it his mission over the years to warn members of Congress, particularly Republicans, of the dangers to Israel should it negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.
WASHINGTON – Michael Oren was deep inside the State Department, relaxed and taking on all comers: He had the facts on his side.
It was 2004 and the department was reviewing newly declassified National Security Agency evidence reinforcing Israel’s longstanding claim that its 1967 air attack on the USS Liberty spy ship was a mistake. The attack killed 34 American personnel.
WASHINGTON – Ron Dermer laced his address to the 2009 American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference with “I was with him when.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/middle-east/iran-news/irans-president-elect-hassan-rohani-more-of-the-same-or-a-bridge-to-the-west/2013/06/19/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.