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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Hassan Rouhani’

UAE Condemning Iranian Occupation of its Territories

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

While the United Arab Emirates has welcomed the refreshing stance of Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani, it has called upon the international community to urge Iran to respond to repeated calls for a just settlement of the islands dispute between the two countries, either through direct, serious negotiations or by referral to the International Court of Justice.

In 1971, after the British finally left the Middle East, Iranian forces occupied the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb, located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf between Iran and the UAE. Iran continues to occupy the islands, which the UAE has been contesting to no avail.

Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, speaking before the meeting of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, denounced the Iranian occupation.

“…My Government expresses, once again, its regret regarding the continued Iranian occupation of our three islands: Abu Mousa, and Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and demands the restoration of the UAE’s full sovereignty over these islands,” Al Nahyan said.

“We emphasize that all actions and measures taken by the Iranian occupation authorities are null and void, and are contrary to international law and to all norms and common human values,” he continued. “Therefore, we call upon the international community to urge Iran to respond to the repeated peaceful, sincere calls of the United Arab Emirates for a just settlement of this issue, either through direct, serious negotiations or by referral to the International Court of Justice to settle this dispute in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and the provisions of international law.”

Noting the change in tone in iran’s political leadership, the foreign minister declared: “Proceeding from the firm principals of our regional and international relations, we welcome the declared approach of Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, and we affirm that our country will sincerely build on such approach in the interest of promoting security, stability and prosperity in the region.”

Now, why can’t the Palestinians be this polite?

Rouhani on Holocaust: Size Doesn’t Matter

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the Holocaust as a crime against the Jews but refused to comment on its scope.

“I have said before that I am not a historian, and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it,” Rouhani told CNN in comments published Tuesday on its website.

“But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, was reprehensible and condemnable as far as we are concerned,” he said.

Rouhani also appeared to liken the Holocaust to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

“This does not mean that on the other hand you can say Nazis committed crimes against a group, now therefore they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it,” he said. “This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an evenhanded discussion.”

Rouhani in an interview earlier this week with NBC declined to answer a question about the Holocaust, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say that Rouhani differed little from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denied the Holocaust.

Netanyahu in a statement posted on his Facebook page said Rouhani’s alleged Holocaust denial was one reason he ordered the Israeli delegation to the United Nations not to be present when the Iranian leader spoke Tuesday at the General Assembly.

“The Israeli delegation absented itself from Rouhani’s speech in order not to grant legitimacy to a regime that does not recognize the existence of the Holocaust and which publicly declares its desire to wipe the State of Israel off the map,” Netanyahu said.

President Obama said at the General Assembly that he was ready to engage with Rouhani to bring about a diplomatic solution to tensions over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program. Netanyahu has said he believes Rouhani’s claims to moderation are a ruse.

Iran Dismisses Reports of Rouhani Rosh Hashanah Greeting

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The Iranian media has denied that the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, sent a Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews.

A Sept. 4 message from the Twitter handle @HassanRouhani stated, “As the sun is about to set here in Tehran, I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.”

Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 10.20.23 AM

Major media outlets picked up on the tweet, including CNN, whose headline was “Iranian president’s surprising message to Jews.” CNN wrote that Rouhani’s message marked “a sharp shift from his Holocaust-denying predecessor,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But Rouhani’s presidential advisor, Mohammad Reza Sadeq, told Fars News Agency that the tweet was falsely reported because Rouhani “does not have a Twitter account.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he was “not impressed” with Rouhani’s Rosh Hashanah message because Iran “will be judged only by its actions and not by greetings.” The purpose of such greetings, Netanyahu said, was to deflect attention from the Iranian nuclear program.

Iranian Press TV quoted Rouhani as saying in August, “After all, in our region there has been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Quds.”

Netanyahu’s Attack on Rohani Was Based on Bad Translation

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office blamed an erroneous translation for his earlier call on westerners who believe Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani is a moderate to abandon their “illusion.”

Netanyahu’s office late Friday removed from the Twitter social media website tweets reflecting the statement and told the BBC that it was “based on a Reuters report with an erroneous translation.”

Netanyahu had reacted earlier in the day to statements picked up by wire services and originally attributed to Rohani by Iran’s semi-official ISNA and Mehr news agencies, which quoted him as saying, “The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed.”

Netanyahu’s original statement said that Rohani had “revealed his true face sooner than expected.”

“This statement should awaken the world from the illusion some have taken to entertaining since the elections in Iran,” his statement said. “The president was replaced but the goal of the regime remained obtaining nuclear weapons to threaten Israel, the Middle East and the safety of the world. A country which threatens to destroy Israel must not have weapons of mass destruction.”

A number of news sites, quoting Rohani directly, rendered his statement differently, without the call for removal. ISNA soon retracted its original report.

“The day of Quds, which is one of the mementos of the Imam [Khomeini], may he be admitted to God’s paradise, is the day that the people display the unity of the Islamic world against any form of tyranny and aggression,” Rohani said, according to a New York Times translation. “In any case, in our region, a sore has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world for many years, in the shadow of the occupation of the Holy Land of Palestine and the dear Quds. This day is in fact a reminder of the fact that Muslim people will not forgot their historic right and will continue to stand against aggression and tyranny.”

Netanyahu’s blast could be seen as being aimed at U.S. President Obama and a number of U.S. lawmakers who have said Rohani’s expressed willingness to make Iran’s nuclear program more transparent should be tested.

A number of pro-Israel groups that had attacked Rohani in social media based on the misstatement, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee and The Israel Project, did not retract their attacks by midday Friday. One group, the AJC-affilaited U.N. Watch, corrected its statement.

International Quds Day, held annually since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, drew hundreds of thousands of participants in Tehran, according to news agencies.

Rohani, who is scheduled to be inaugurated in two days, is believed to have garnered the votes of Iran’s more reform-minded voters, although he is a veteran of the ruling clerical establishment and his candidacy was authorized by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In his own Quds Day remarks, Khamenei vowed that “Palestine will be free” and predicted the emergence of a new “Islamic Middle East.”

Last year, Ahmadinejad used a Quds Day event to call for the elimination of the “insult to all humanity” that is Israel, and said that confronting it constitutes an effort to “protect the dignity of all human beings.” He too expressed confidence in the emergence of “a new Middle East” with no trace of Americans or of Zionists.

They Voted for a Moderate – Now What?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The bad news is that Rouhani has little influence on the three major power centers in Iran. Rouhani, who knows for whom he works (and it is not the Iranian people), will try to use his negotiating skills to effect changes in American behavior toward Iran.

The 686 men who expressed their desire to run in Iran’s presidential election were whittled down to 8 — not by primaries, debates and polls, but by the six theologians and six jurists on the Guardian Council. The candidates had to be Iranian-born, over 21, and believe in “God, Islam and the Iranian Constitution.” Education, military service and “public service” were also taken into account by the Council. So while in the West much has been made of the differences among them, similarities rule.

Nevertheless, the Iranian people used their franchise to vote for the man on the ballot most opposed by the Mullahs. They made their statement in overwhelming numbers, proving the existence of the much-sought-after “Iranian moderates.” That is the good news. The other good news is that they learned from Egyptian moderates, who lost by splitting votes among a selection of secular candidates. Anti-clerical Iranians coalesced around a single candidate, Hassan Rouhani, and Mohammad Reza Aref bowed out to enhance Rouhani’s chances. The bad news is that the Iranian people have little influence, and neither will Rouhani, on the three major power centers in Iran:

  • The Supreme Leader’s religious leadership base
  • The Basij paramilitary militia established by the Ayatollah Khomeini
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (the IRGC or Pasdaran)

The Iranian people also will not be able to determine the policy direction on international issues that concern the United States, Israel and much of the rest of the world, such as:

  • Iran’s aspiration to nuclear weapons capability
  • Support for international terrorism against Israel and the West
  • The quest for Shi’ite supremacy in the Middle East and beyond.

The “reforms” Rouhani is likely to pursue will be to help the staggering Iranian economy, plagued by the effects of U.S.-led international sanctions, as well as massive corruption in the system. Since the sanctions are the result of Iranian decisions on their nuclear aspirations, and the corruption largely benefits the IRGC and the Basiji police, which are all untouchable, Rouhani’s ability to have a real impact is minimal.

This leaves the United States in an uncomfortable position.

Wanting to show support for the Iranian people, and support for “reform” and “moderation,” insofar as any are permitted by the real Iranian power centers, the U.S. declared its acceptance of the result, congratulating the people for their “courage in voting” and being “determined to make their voices heard, despite the limitations the ruling government imposed on the political process.” There have already been calls to “strengthen” Rouhani, “strengthen” the moderates — much like the calls to “strengthen” Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority — on the assumption that American support will enable him to pursue an agenda more closely aligned with Western interests.

It won’t. He can’t.

On the other hand, as a former nuclear negotiator, Rouhani knows how to speak the language of the international community. He is said to favor a negotiated settlement with the West on nuclear issues, which means he will likely push for a return to the P5+1 talks or some other form of engagement. This will please those for whom talk equals progress. But since the outcome on the Iranian side is pre-determined by people who are not Rouhani, and Iran expects that it will have whatever nuclear capability it deems essential, more talks are both a delaying tactic while the centrifuges spin and a means to press the U.S. to lift economic sanctions.

The Obama administration will be torn between easing sanctions to “help” the Iranian people in whom he has invested rhetorical support, and continuing to hold fast to his determination that Iran will not achieve its nuclear goals. It does not help that the sanctions are having a punishing effect on the civilian economy, but were “too little, too late” to prevent the acquisition of nuclear-related technology by the regime.

The nuclear issue is the most potentially devastating threat to the West and to American allies, but Iran’s support for Hezb’allah and the Assad government in Syria is clearly the most actually devastating. Iran’s evident intention is to achieve hegemony across Syria and through Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, with consequences not only for Syria and Lebanon, but for Turkey, Jordan, Israel and the Kurdish minorities across the region. This is part of the larger Sunni-Shi’ite war to spread Islam and re-establish the Caliphate under the control or one side or the other. The U.S. cannot — and apparently does not — look lightly on an Iranian victory in Syria, having just agreed to arm the “Syrian rebels.” To have swallowed its discomfort with the Sunni jihadists — despite the sure knowledge that al Qaeda is part of the rebel front — is an indication of just how worried the administration is about Iran.

Iranian activity in the Western hemisphere — in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador — including arms sales, and overtures to China based on China’s need for Iranian oil, is a third area the United States cannot ignore.

None of the American priorities for changes in Iranian behavior can be affected by Hassan Rouhani, but Rouhani, who knows for whom he works (and it is not the Iranian people), will try to use his negotiating skills to effect changes in American behavior toward Iran. Whoever wins in the bazaar will determine the future threat posed by Iran to the West.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/they-voted-for-a-moderate-now-what/2013/06/17/

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