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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Tehran’

U.S.: ‘T-Minus 2 Months to Nuclear Iran’

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The United States has belatedly awakened to the fact that Tehran is ignoring its policies and moving ahead with nuclear development – as Israel predicted more than a decade ago.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday it would take Iran just two months to produce enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon of mass destruction.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made the same statement – in fact he warned it would take less time, unless actions were taken to slow or stop the process – in speeches to the United Nations in 2012 and in 2013.

Over the years, the Iranian nuclear program was hit with numerous mysterious problems that slowed down the process, including destructive viruses, assassinated nuclear physicists, and broken components, all of which were generally blamed on Israel.

Netanyahu’s predecessors in office have also warned the international community that Iran has been marching ahead with its nuclear development program. That has continued apace regardless of United Nations sanctions, diplomatic efforts, negotiations and any other attempts to slow down its drive to create nuclear weaponry.

This time as world powers gathered in Vienna to talk about working on a new agreement to slow down Iranian activity on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions, Kerry was warning American lawmakers that time is up.

The best the world can hope for is to get the Iranians to increase the “breakout” window from two months to half a year, maybe a year.

“I think it’s public knowledge today that we’re operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months. Six months to 12 months is… I’m not saying that’s what we’d settle for, but even that is significantly more [time],” he said, according to Reuters.

Still, Kerry claimed Iran only has enough so far for “just one bomb’s worth, conceivably, of material, but without any necessary capacity to put it in anything, to deliver it, to have any mechanism to do so.”

However, a recent shipment of sophisticated missiles and a missile launcher sent by Iran to the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Syria proves that may not be the case. The missiles were of a new, advanced design built with a warhead capable of carrying a much heavier payload – possibly one that could carry nuclear material.

The trucks that were carrying the missiles and the launcher to a Hezbollah base were destroyed in an air strike that left four Hezbollah terrorists.

Iran: Neither Lunatic State Nor Rational Actor, But Rational Aggressor

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The United States now estimates it will take one year for Iran to get nuclear weapons; Israel says some months.

Is Iran a Lunatic State or a Rational Actor? It is neither; it is a Rational Aggressor.

“One of the great unresolved questions of Barack Obama’s presidency,” says Time Magazine, “is whether he can peacefully resolve  America’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear weapons’  program.

Ridiculously wrong.
 
One of the great unresolved questions of Barack Obama’s presidency is whether he can successfully resolve America’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear weapons’ program.

Time continues that the Obama-Rouhani handshake “would  be the most important…handshake since the historic grip between Rabin and Arafat….””

Also wrong. Remember that while it has still not been admitted by the United States, that event 20! years later was a failure costly in lives. Israel must satisfy seemingly monthly American demands by releasing terrorists who murdered Israelis.

The handshakes of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain with Hitler (the Munich agreement) and of the Nazi foreign minister and Stalin (the Nazi-Soviet pact) were also a historic grip, at the time peaceful but not ultimately successful.

Time continues, “It would only be a symbolic act, to be sure. But when it comes to international diplomacy, symbolism can go a long way.”

But it is not a mere symbolic act but the start of a foolish deal that Iran will break.

So is Iran a lunatic state or a rational actor? A hell of a lot more rational than U.S. foreign policy is today, as apparently has been the Muslim Brotherhood’s policy and trickery. After all, the UN just elected Iran as Rapporteur for the General Assembly’s main committee on Disarmament & International Security without Tehran having to do anything.  And Obama will blame Congress for diplomatic failure if it increases sanctions. In fact diplomats doubt Iran will actually do anything anyway.

That’s not moderate but radical in a smart way.

More politely, Iran is a rational actor in terms of its own objectives. The issue is to understand what Iran wants. Policy is always best served by truth, and the truth is best told whether or not people like it. Iran is an aggressive, rational actor.

Remember: The problem is not that Iran is eager to use nuclear weapons but that the Obama Administration is not going to apply containment properly and credibly.  And that encourages Iran’s non-nuclear aggression and terrorism.
 
The hysteria over Iran, however, had also better get under control, even as the real, very threatening situation should be understood. Armchair theorists from far away may want to provoke a U.S.-Iran war. This is a bad idea.

The fact is that the history of the Iranian Islamic regime does not show suicidal recklessness. A key reason for this is that the leaders of Iran know they can be reckless without risking suicide. In other words, Iran did face threats from the West commensurate with what Tehran was doing. Therefore, the risks it took were not suicidal. If apparently suicidal rhetoric does not produce suicide but serves a very specific purpose, that rhetoric is not in fact suicidal.

What, then, did Iran want?

Its basic goal was to be as powerful a regional hegemon as possible–including control over Syria and Lebanon. It would like to take leadership of all Muslims in the area. Today, however, it is clear that the Sunni Arabs reject Tehran’s leadership and will fight against it.

In other words, the ultimate extent of Iran’s zone of influence could only include part of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, southwest Afghanistan, Bahrain, and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. That is the maximum, and Iran is far from achieving that goal. And it will probably never achieve it.

Iran’s influence is limited by the location of Shia Muslims. Not all Shia Muslims favor Iran, and pretty much all Sunni Muslims oppose it. Therefore, whatever the outcome is in Syria–in other words if the regime wins–Iran will at most keep its current levels of influence. But if the regime wins, the Sunnis will hate Iran even more and will fight against it harder.

So Iran still wants to get the most power without fearing reprisal.

Nuclear weapons are a defensive shield to carry out conventional aggression.

As I’ve insisted for many years, it is increasingly clear that Iran will get nuclear weapons. We should start discussions in that framework. The recent brilliant decision of the Iranian elite–who is not only more ruthless but strategically smarter than Western leadership–to pick a national security insider, who is at best a slightly moderate extremist, as president guarantees it.

The question is only: when will Iran get nuclear weapons? The evidence seems to show that this is several years away. (It would be interesting if that development was too late to affect Syria’s civil war, and such will probably happen.)

Why will Iran certainly get nukes?

First, the West isn’t going to take strong enough action to stop it because the alternatives are deemed–perhaps accurately so–too risky. No surgical Israeli strike is going to stop it, and Obama will never support such a strike. Of course, there is a great deal of indifference about the potential victims and lots of greed about the money to be made from Iran. The sanctions may seem tough, but there are more holes than cheese.

After Ahmadinejad, though, there is perhaps a better money-making climate. His successor will further soothe Western willingness to battle on this nuclear issue.

And of course they just don’t care that much about potential genocide in Israel.

Second, with international support at a low point, the logistical difficulties, and a U.S. president who is incredibly reluctant, Israel is not going to attack Iran to stop it from getting nuclear weapons. What Israel should and will do is to make clear it will attack Iran if there is any reason to believe that Tehran might launch nuclear weapons. It will build up a multilayer defensive and offensive system.

This is not mere passive containment but would mean assured massive retaliation.

Note that there is more than one potential victim of Iran’s nuclear weapons. People, including the Israelis, talk a lot about Israel. Yet the Sunni Arab states are increasingly involved in shooting situations with Iranian proxies. Unlike Israel, they won’t do anything and perhaps can’t, except to beg the United States to take strong action. But the U.S. won’t do so.

And of course everyone can just hope everything will turn out all right.

A rare piece of good news, however, is that before the “Arab Spring,” it was conceivable that Iran might become leader or hegemon of the Arabic-speaking world. Israel-bashing was an important tool to do so. Now the Sunni Muslims have their own successful–even U.S.-backed!–Muslim Brotherhood movement. They not only don’t need Iran any more, they fight against Tehran.

Pushed on the defensive with more limited prospects–and knowing the Israel card won’t work–Tehran has lots less incentive to stake its survival on that issue. The nuclear weapons arsenal isn’t intended for a big bang to get revenge on Israel, it’s intended to keep the current regime in power against a growing number of enemies.

Put bluntly, Iran won’t waste its nuclear weapons on Israel or, as they might put it in Tehran, to give Israel an “excuse” to attack Iran. No pile of quotes from Iranian leaders to the contrary changes anything.
The key factor is not an appeal to the “international community” to protect Israel. Israel’s power rests precisely in old-fashioned credibility and deterrence:

Only Israel can credibly destroy the Islamic regime.  And the Islamic regime in Iran knows that. 
 
Israel was so important in Iranian verbal declarations precisely because Israel could at one time be turned into a card that strengthened Iran’s appeal with the Arabs and the Sunni. Iran certainly had very few other cards. But the Sunni and Arabs don’t care about this, given the big change of the last two years. The Israel card–as shown by the Syrian regime’s failure with it–is worthless.

Note that while Iran has been the leading sponsor of international terrorism and poured invective out against Israel, Iran did not notably take any material action against Israel beyond terror attacks and its sponsorship of Hizballah, Hamas, and Syria–which were its allies at the time. Compared to Arab efforts in the second half of the twentieth century, this was not very much.

In other words, against Israel, the Tehran regime talked a big game but did relatively little.

On other issues, too, Iran did not act like a country bent on suicide. Against its Arab enemies, it did not take considerable risks. Iran could wage a proxy war against America in Iraq, because the United States didn’t do very much about it.

All of the above in no way discounts an Iranian threat. Yes, of course, Iran sponsored terrorism and sought to gain influence and to spread revolution. Yet it did not attack a single country in open terms of warfare. Remember, Iran was invaded by Iraq. And when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself was persuaded that the United States was entering the war against him, he quickly ended it, though he said that doing so was like eating snakes and scorpions; but that was necessary to preserve the regime.

Iran is the kind of aggressor who was once described by Winston Churchill as a thief who went down the street rattling doors to find one that was open.

Second, Iran sought to defend itself by threatening antagonists with total destruction and by obtaining the ultimate deterrence, nuclear weapons. This does not mean one should sympathize with Tehran since, after all, it sought nuclear weapons to ensure its defense while it continued aggressive policies.

Iran can also complain about American encirclement. Of course, if it did not follow the policies that were being practiced, there wouldn’t be a U.S. motive for any such efforts. The point, however, is that the claim that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons so it could destroy itself by attacking Israel is just not demonstrated.

Thus, Iran is not a demonic, crazed, kamikaze country. It is simply a typical aggressor who wants to have insurance against having to pay the price of such continued activity. North Korea and Pakistan sought nuclear weapons for the same reason, and it is working for them.

Let’s approach the issue in another way. Suppose Iran helped the Syrian regime win the civil war. Would the danger to Israel be increased? No, certainly it would not be from a nuclear standpoint. Assad would reestablish control over a wrecked and tottering country where the damage would take years to rebuild. But the problem is that Iran will be more secure in defending itself which means it will be more aggressive, but now with nuclear weapons.

The use of nuclear weapons loses whatever the possession of nuclear weapons gains.

Iran would be relieved at the Syrian regime’s survival but would not be better able to carry on a (nuclear) war against Israel. The Sunnis would be prepared to cooperate with the United States against Iran and even, covertly, with Israel up to a point. Indeed, the ability of Sunni Islamists to attack Israel would be reduced because of their obsession with the principal danger.

Again, I don’t want Assad to win in Syria. I believe that Iran is a threat. I think Iran will succeed in getting nuclear weapons. I don’t think the Tehran regime consists of lunatics who cannot wait to immolate themselves in a fiery funeral pyre. They want to stay in power for a long time. Israel has an alternative of preemption if necessary. But the United States will never help stop Iran’s getting of nukes.

This analysis should be conducted in a sober fashion. I believe, indeed I see clearly, that Israeli policymakers understand these issues. We should remember that Iran is not an insane state and that there are threats other than Iran in the Middle East.

The problem is not that Iran is eager to use nuclear weapons but that the Obama Administration is unlikely to apply containment properly and credibly. And then its version of containment might fail.

Rouhani: I Turned Down Five Requests from Obama for Meeting

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Iranian President Hassan Rohani’s “charm offensive,” by his own admission, stopped short of meeting personally with President Barack Obama.

“Before my trip (to New York), the Americans had sent 5 messages to arrange a meeting between me and Obama, but I turned them down,” he told the government-run Fars News Agency, which can also be read as the Farce News Agency because of its wild propaganda.

“Then they raised a plan for a brief meeting, but I didn’t agree (with it) much; we didn’t disagree with (the idea to have) a meeting, but its grounds weren’t prepared,” he added.

During Rohani’s visit to the United States, the White House fudged on the issue of whether President Obama would meet with Rouhani.

“It’s possible, but it has always been possible,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week. “The extended hand has been there from the moment the president was sworn in.”

Politico reported last week that Iran rejected a  White House suggestion of “an encounter” between the two leaders.

One U.S. official said that a meeting was too complicated for them.”

Rohani also told Fars he is thrilled that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in the United Nations Tuesday was full of anger towards the new Iranian president.

“That an aggressive regime in the region names Iran with coarse language is the cause of our happiness,” Rouhani told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

“Israel is upset to see that its sword has gone blunt and Iran grows more powerful day by day,” he added.

Farce, or Fars, did not ask Rohani about the mixed reception he received at the airport on his return, when several dozen hard-core  Islamists shouted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” and threw eggs and stones at his motorcade.

They were outnumbered by hundreds of supporters who praised Rohani.

Russia Heats Up Cold War with Sale of Iran S-300 Missiles (Video)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Russian media reported Wednesday that Moscow now is ready to go through a long-promised deal to supply the Iranian regime with advanced S-300 missiles that can shoot down ballistic missiles and commercial airplanes from a distance of up to 120 miles.

It is one of most lethal, if not the most lethal, anti-aircraft system in the world. Iran signed a purchase deal in 2007  for five S-300 missile batteries, but the sale was frozen three years ago when the U.N. Security Council slapped sanctions on Tehran..

Russia got around the embargo in its sale of the S-300 to Syria by claiming the weapons were for defense, and presumably that will be the excuse to sell them to Iran.

Just in case the international sanctions get in the way of the sale, Russia has come up with an alternative that might be just as useful for Iran and which does not fall under the sanctions. It would sell Iran the  Antei-2500, AKA S-300VM, or SA-23 Gladiato, according to the Russian Kommersant Daily.

The Antei-2500 was specifically tailored for the needs of ground forces, which could also be an advantage for Iran, known for its large land force,” the Iranian government-controlled Fars News Agency stated.

Kommersant said Iran has asked it to fulfill its promise to complete the S-300 missile sale, and Russia has thrown in an extra goodie by agreeing to build a second nuclear reactor in Bushehr, just what the United States and Israel don’t need.

The Russian and Chinese appetite for money has driven it to become huge weapons suppliers to Iran and Syria, giving them the lever to counter Western influence. The missile sale to Iran will add approximately $700 million to the Kremlin coffers.

Besides the financial angel, Putin is doing his best to establish Russia as the most powerful influence in the Middle East, at the expense of President Barack Obama. Moscow and Beijing have consistently thrown up barriers to American-led efforts to place sanctions on Iran and Syria.

Iran more than welcomes Moscow in its campaign to rid the world of American influence that goes against fundamentalist Muslim regime policies, such as the deprival of human rights..

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said earlier this week that Russia should complete the 2005 deal and supply Iran with S-300 missiles and “should believe themselves and don’t follow the US so much,”  Fars reported Wednesday.

New Moderates: Syrian Rebels, Iranian President, and the Taliban

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Let’s say that you feel Iran is the bigger of the two evils and that Tehran, Hizbollah, and Russia cannot be allowed to have a victory in the Syrian civil war. Therefore, the United States has to supply weapons to the rebels despite the fact that they are America-hating Islamists. I can understand that argument but let’s explore the adventure that the United States and European Union is about to embark on.

The cost is the U.S. backing for the Sunni Islamist takeover of much of the Middle East. The benefit is…denying Syria to Iranian influence after 30 years. Of course, it won’t be under U.S. influence. And many wars may flow from this policy: A Sunni Islamist regime’s war on Israel, Hizbollah in Lebanon, the Syrian Kurds, and possibly Iraq (Sunni versus Shia) and Jordan (Islamist subversion to help the Muslim Brotherhood).

If the United States supplies enough weapons to just keep the rebels going, that would be one thing. But American policymakers are likely to be carried away–as often happens to Americans in this situation–and to see rebel victory as the equivalent of good, the heroic freedom fighters battling for the liberation of puritanical Sharia.

It is surprising that it doesn’t seem to bother a lot of people to support an antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-woman, anti-gay movement that has already committed atrocities, whose leading organization also once collaborated with the Nazis, and about 20 percent of which consists of al-Qaida supporters? 
 
Also we have just seen the proliferation of weapons and terrorists following the U.S.-sponsored support of Islamists after the Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan wars.

Moreover, don’t count the rebels out yet despite the hysteria that Assad is winning. Five weeks ago everyone claimed the rebels were winning. Moreover, while I don’t want the Syrian regime to win, let’s remember that two short years ago the Obama Administration was courting Syria as a potential ally, treating what was still a dreaded dictatorship as if it was one step from singing, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Visiting U.S. officials and members of Congress became apologists for the regime. For those remembering these events, the current scene is disgusting. Suddenly Syria became a ferocious dictatorship. It was always a ferocious dictatorship. Suddenly it became an ally of Tehran, a stance that the Obama Administration claimed two short years ago that it was going to reverse. In fact, it has been an ally of Iran for more than 30 years.

How short are memories. Analogies to other recent events are also often ridiculous–World War Two, the Spanish Civil War–made by people who know nothing about Syria. In Iraq, for example, there were viable democratic forces and the United States had real leverage over the situation. While one might want the overthrow of the Assad regime, that just isn’t true in Syria.

In Syria, the United States has not just accepted but backed from the start an exile leadership that not only was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood but which refuses to even allow a significant representation by liberal moderates and the Kurds! If U.S. policy, soon to be paying the bills and giving the weapons, cannot achieve that then why give help without conditions? Again, one wants the Assad regime to fall but cannot Washington even extract any political price for this support of the rebels? From Turkey to get more support for U.S. policy toward Iran from Ankara? No.

Will the murder of Christians and other rebel atrocities incur any penalties on U.S. backing or not? Everyone should know that the United States cannot protect one Syrian civilian from murder and persecution by the rebels. Who is doing who a favor?

The strategic issues have also not been fully thought out. Iran is not Nazi Germany and it is going to get nuclear weapons no matter what happens in Syria. Its ability to project influence into the Arab world is limited to Lebanon–where the United States has always accepted it before–and to a lesser degree to Syria and a bit to Iraq. One can make the case that the Sunni Islamists, without a big source of money or arms, are less threatening than Iran. Yet that depends, too, on how Sunni Islamist policy, which largely means the Muslim Brotherhood, develop. What is needed here are cool-headed evaluations; what we see is bordering on hysteria.

There’s something in the U.S. military culture called “mission creep,” that means the task given the U.S. army is extended far beyond the original intention. Also, in military affairs nothing turns out to be as easy as you expect. If, for example, the rebels can’t win otherwise will there need to be a no-fly zone? Or more intervention? All to produce a likely result of an anti-American terrorist-sponsoring dictatorship? Or perhaps it can be bought off for a while by sending billions of dollars of aid to subsidize a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship. Already we see the war hysteria building.

So let’s say that Obama sets a policy of sending only limited numbers of light weapons to moderate forces. Naturally, though, the U.S. trainers will not be able to vet every trainee. We know that’s true and there will no doubt be terrorist-minded and extremist soldiers whose skills will increase thanks to Uncle Sam. Many of them are young. Perhaps some of them won ‘t retire after the Syrian civil war ends.

But what’s really worrisome is the next step. Suppose the rebels still aren’t winning. The aides and experts and advisers then explain to the White House that unless more and better weapons are sent then “our” side will lose. That can’t happen, right? It will be an even more humiliating loss to the Russians, Iranians, Hizbollah, and the Syrian regime that not so long ago—just over two years ago–was Obama’s good buddy.
At that point, there comes escalation: more weapons, more American involvement, better arms. That is going to be a big temptation and who is going to stand up and say, “No.”
Now think of the opposite outcome. The rebels quickly reverse the tide of battle and they are winning. In that case, the officials say, “Just a little more aid and we can have a big victory.” Once again, mission creep.

And what would the U.S. government do if and when the rebels start murdering civilians. Imagine, there are people who don’t support Israel and want the United States to reduce help because it is “immoral” doing certain things. But they are going to accept rebels cutting off the heads of people, wiping out dozens of civilians, shooting prisoners, and even eating a few body parts of murdered Syrian prisoners?

All of these things have already happened and will happen more. And, here’s the big thing, the United
States will have no leverage to affect this behavior. The leaders are not in control; the rebels don’t want to do America’s bidding. Will the aid be cut off at that point? No. Too many reputations will be on the line; too much political capital will have been extended.

Meanwhile the Sunni Muslim side and particularly the Sunni Islamist side will urge the United States on, promising it anything if it puts their friends in power. Obama will believe that the Arabs love America and will support U.S. interests. Until, of course, the day after they take over—or say several months afterward—when the Muslim Brotherhood turns on America and the Salafists attack Israel.

There is, however, one possible way out: if the United States can say Iran made us do it by escalating its own involvement in the war. There is something peculiar happening after the Iranian presidential election.  On one hand, the media throughout the West is proclaiming that Iran is now moderate, forgetting that the same thing (the election of a relatively moderate president 16 years ago) without changing anything. On the other hand, though, Iran seems to have become more aggressive and threatening after the election. The Iranian supreme guide directly insulted Obama, saying he was a puppet of Zionist interests and was only elected in a phony process, unlike the freedom enjoyed in Iran. The point is that Iran may have overplayed its hand, throwing away a wonderful opportunity to fool the West and get sanctions reduced while still building nuclear weapons.
At any rate, this is a big mess and it will not turn out well.

Speaking of big messes, to consolidate the Obama Doctrine–allying or engaging with Sunni Islamist extremists–the United States is now entering public negotiations with the Taliban.  The Afghan Taliban, you might remember, was a partner in the September 11, 2001, attacks and has been unrepentant. The supposed price will be that the Taliban, which is killing Americans on a daily basis in Afghanistan, may merely renounce al-Qaida. But since al-Qaida doesn’t exist any more in Afghanistan this is  hardly significant. Mere words from the no-doubt-trustworthy Taliban–or will even an apology be required–will make up for the murder of around 3000 Americans.  According to U.S. policy, there is a radical and moderate wing of the Syrian rebels, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood regime, the Turkish stealth Islamist regime, probably now the Iranian regime, and several others as well no doubt.

The Taliban has been calling the Afghan government an American puppet and the Afghan government reacted to news of the talks angrily, with a feeling of betrayal, and broke off its own talks with the United States. Sound like a pattern? The U.S. government siding with enemies and subverting historical allies?

Oh, and four American soldiers were killed by a Taliban attack the same day as these diplomatic developments happened.

Finally, the new Iranian president has been declared a moderate by much of the Western establishment. First, it is assumed he is a moderate. True, he was the person out of desperation who was supported by the opposition but he has a long record as a key national security official who does not differ from the main political line. Second, he is powerless because the supreme guide is in charge.

Imagine a “Cold War” in which the United States would have taken the Communist side and you get a picture of current U.S. policy.

Iran Says It Will Build New Nuclear Reactor

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Iran’s state-controlled media announced it will build a new nu clear “research center” for the production of medical isotopes.

The new reactor is to be built approximately 420 miles south of Tehran and  will supplement Iran’s Bushehr reactor.

Reformist Candidate Wins Big in Iran’s Election

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.
 Hasan Rowhani, the only reformist candidate allowed in Iran’s presidential election, has won a landslide victory. There won’t even need to be a second, run-off round since he won over 50 percent of the vote.
If this was a regime maneuver to portray Iran as suddenly moderate, it seems to be working. Around the globe, mass media outlets are  claiming that Iran has been transformed and now is the time for the West to show patience or make concessions.Consider this: A stronger man and a more dedicated reformer and moderate than Rowhani, Muhammad Khatami, was president for eight years and did not accomplish a single reform under this regime.

Did the Tehran regime put in a seemingly moderate but actually helpless or compliant front so it could claim moderation and thus stall for time to build nuclear weapons? Or did he masses simply overwhelmed the regime so that his victory was undeniable? Perhaps the regime figured that a second straight election stolen by the regime from the reformists–the previous one was in 2009–would set off a revolt.

New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink  reported that Tehran has turned into a massive street celebration. The police and militia vigilantes stayed off the streets where pop songs ruled instead of regime dress standards. People chanted, Erdbrink tweeted, “We are celebrating that we are free after 8 years of Ahmadinejad.”

Since supreme guide Ali Khamenei congratulated Rowhani it appears that the rulers have accepted his victory and he will not be denied office.

No matter what the regime’s intentions or acceptance, the outcome will be this:

1. Rowhani will have little power. Remember that a moderate already served eight years as president and accomplished nothing. Rowhani is clearly loyal to the regime or he wouldn’t have been the only reformist candidate who was approved for the election by the regime.
2. A lot of Iranians will be very happy. One big thing they will hope for is better management of the economy.

3. There will be many analysts and politicians and government officials saying that since Iran has now turned in a moderate direction, it must be given a chance to show whether this is true. Rowhani is a very articulate and glib man. He will know how to make things look good in Washington especially compared to Ahmadinejad’s outrageously radical style.

4. Therefore, the Obama Administration will spend the rest of 2013 in exploratory negotiations as Iran moves forward toward nuclear weapons. People will talk about gestures toward Iran like reducing sanctions and certainly not increasing them. Russia, Turkey, and China will continue to get waivers on sanctions.

5.  This will have no effect on U.S. policy in Syria, giving weapons to rebels.

6. What will this mean for the Green Movement, the reformist forces some of whom have been put under house arrest? These were the people from whom the 2009 election was stolen? Would Rowhani be like the sincerely reformist president Muhammad Khatami who, despite real efforts, had no successes in his eight years in office?

Many analysts–including myself–cynically suggested that the election would be once again fixed so a regime candidate would win. In retrospect, of course, this was wrong. In hindsight, perhaps it was a tip-off (if the regime wanted Rowhani to win–that it let in several regime supporters who took votes from each other. In the end, though, it didn’t matter. The key decision was to allow an honest tally of votes.

At any rate, while the Iran regime has not changed policy really, many will think it has done so. If the regime really wanted to change its aggressive and nuclear-oriented policy, it would have put into power a regime supporter who would announce a new set of positions. At any rate, all of these questions about Iranian politics and foreign policy will have to be seriously evaluated now.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/reformist-candidate-wins-big-in-irans-election/2013/06/16/

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