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Friday, January 24, 2014

New York Times Editorial, "Iran’s Charm Offensive": Naivete or Duplicity on the Part of the Times?

Needless to say, there is no mention in the latest New York Times editorial entitled "Iran’s Charm Offensive" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/opinion/irans-charm-offensive.html?ref=opinion&_r=0) of the 55,000 photographs smuggled out of Syria by a military police officer, which show the emaciated and bloody bodies of victims of the Assad regime. Yes, we're talking about pictures of victims of that same Bashar al-Assad, whom US Secretary of State John Kerry called "my dear friend." We're talking about that same Assad about whom former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on "Face the Nation":

"There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer."

If you have the stomach to view several of these pictures, which show images reminiscent of corpses found after the allies liberated Nazi concentration camps during World War II, see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2544711/Starved-tortured-throttled-The-true-horror-Assads-soldiers-execute-rebel-prisoners-revealed-new-images-released-today.html

Close to 200,000 Syrians have now died over the course of this civil war, and much of this horror is a direct consequence of Iran sending Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah fighters to prop up Assad. The torture shown in the photographs? It is no different from the torture that Iran perpetrates in Evin Prison in Tehran.

So what does the editorial board of the The New York Times tell us:

"Mr. Rouhani, who took office in August, is eager to fulfill his promises of improving Iran’s relations with the world and reviving an economy devastated by international sanctions and his predecessor’s mismanagement. He quickly reached an interim deal with the major powers that curbs significant aspects of Iran’s nuclear program."

Rouhani is "eager to fulfill his promises of improving Iran’s relations with the world"? Oh really? This is the same Rouhani who boasted prior to the Iranian presidential elections how he had lulled the West into complacency while radically expanding Iran's nuclear weapons development program.


Rouhani "quickly reached an interim deal with the major powers that curbs significant aspects of Iran’s nuclear program"? Obama, of course, is not allowing us to see the terms of this so-called deal. Moreover, we recently learned from Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has been quoted sympathetically by the editorial board of the Times (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/01/new-york-times-editorial-another-syria.html), that in exchange for the decision of the P5+1 to dismantle sanctions against Iran, Iran "did not agree to dismantle anything.

Rouhani agrees with Zarif: In an interview with Fareed Zakaria, Rouhani declared that Iran would not destroy its centrifuges "under any circumstances."

The Times editorial acknowledges:

"Over the long term, Iran’s full reintegration into the international system will depend on more than just adherence to the interim nuclear deal and completion of a final agreement. It must also be seen as contributing to stability in other ways, including ending the hostility toward Israel. Mr. Rouhani said he sought 'constructive engagement' with Iran’s neighbors. But that goal is belied by Iran’s support for the Syrian government, a government that has bombed civilians and obstructed humanitarian aid. Iran, which uses Syria as a buffer between it and Israel, has encouraged Hezbollah to fight on his behalf."

Hold your horses! Iran's Supreme Leader "encouraged" Hezbollah to fight on behalf of Assad? Sorry, but Hezbollah's Nasrallah would not have dared to take such a step without receiving explicit orders from Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei.

The editorial concludes:

"Iran’s support of Mr. Assad is all the more unsettling because Mr. Rouhani was rubbing shoulders with the world’s elite just as a stormy peace conference on Syria was playing out elsewhere in Switzerland. Instead of just bemoaning the civil war as a 'major catastrophe' and dismissing all the anti-Assad forces as 'terrorists,' he could have given credibility to his 'constructive engagement' policy by temporarily suspending arms to Syria while peace talks are underway and negotiating a face-saving way for Mr. Assad to leave power.

The United States has tried to keep the nuclear and Syria issues separate, and there is logic to that. If the nuclear deal were the vehicle to resolve every dispute the West has with Iran, it would likely fail. But the Syrian civil war is a major catastrophe, and Iran has considerable leverage to help bring it to an end."

Rouhani "could have given credibility to his 'constructive engagement' policy by temporarily suspending arms to Syria while peace talks are underway and negotiating a face-saving way for Mr. Assad to leave power"? Sorry again: Rouhani is not the boss in Iran. Khamenei is the boss, and he has no intention of suspending arms shipments to Assad or forcing him out of power, particularly given the timorousness displayed by Obama.

"The United States has tried to keep the nuclear and Syria issues separate, and there is logic to that"? By all means, let's focus strictly on the nuclear issue and ignore the fact that Iran hangs homosexuals, stones to death women accused of adultery, murders Baha'is, oppresses Christians, discriminates against Sunni Muslims, abuses Kurds, and throws opponents of Khamenei into Evin Prison in Tehran, where they are tortured and left to rot. Because if Obama were to raise the issue of these abominations in his discussions with Khamenei, which reflect directly on Tehran's world view and intentions, Obama's ersatz negotiations with Khamenei would be dead in the water.

Seek any kind of "logic" when dealing with Iran? One need only have a gander at a recent article entitled "Snowden Documents Proving 'US-Alien-Hitler' Link Stun Russia" (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13921021000393), published by Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency, to better understand with whom Obama is seeking to curry favor.

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