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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New York Times Editorial, "President Trump’s Mideast Contradictions": Rouhani a "Moderate"?



In an editorial entitled "President Trump’s Mideast Contradictions," The New York Times observes with respect to Trump's initial stopover in Saudi Arabia on his first overseas trip:

"The Saudi human rights record is no better than Iran’s."

The Times is correct in this regard: Iran stones to death women accused of adultery and hangs gay men, while Saudi Arabia lashes and imprisons women who have been gang-raped and beheads persons accused of witchcraft. However, having established that Saudi Arabia is no better than Iran concerning human rights, the Times editorial goes on to lavish praise upon Iran's recently re-elected president:

"Even as Mr. Trump reaffirmed America’s partnership with the conservative Saudi royals, Iranians were re-electing a moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as president and reaffirming their interest in engagement with the West."

Ah yes, Rouhani the "moderate." Who cares if Iran, under Rouhani's leadership, executes more persons per capita than any other country in the world? Moreover, as reported by Iran's Fars News Agency in December 2015:

"Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday ordered Defense Minister General Hossein Dehqan to enhance and accelerate development of the country's missile capability in response to the United States' new sanctions against Tehran's defense program.

President Rouhani noted the United States' "hostile policies and illegal and illegitimate meddling against Iran's right to develop its defensive power", and ordered the defense minister to accelerate production of various types of missiles needed by the Iranian Armed Forces more powerfully.

'As the United States seems to plan to include the names of new individuals and firms in its previous list of cruel sanctions in line with its hostile policies and illegitimate and illegal meddling in the Islamic Republic of Iran's right to reinvigorate its defense power, the program for the production of the Armed Forces' needed missiles is required to continue more speedily and seriously,' President Rouhani's written order to the Defense Minister read.

President Rouhani's decree came in reaction to the US Treasury Department's announcement that it is preparing sanctions on two Iran-linked networks helping develop the missile program.

The presidential decree also required the defense ministry to think of new missile production programs at a much wider scale in case Washington continues its sanctions policy against Iran's defense industries."

Have you any doubt as to whom those missiles will be directed against? Rouhani declared in 2013, "The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed."

 And as reported by Iran's Fars News Agency in August 2015:

"'We will purchase weapons from wherever we deem necessary and we are not waiting for anyone's permission; if we deem necessary we will sell our weapons and we will do this without paying attention to any resolution,' President Rouhani said, addressing a ceremony held to commemorate the National Defense Industry Day in Iran on Saturday." 

Or stated otherwise, Iran will continue to import whatever arms systems they desire and freely transfer them to Hezbollah and Hamas for use against Israel.

Seeking a more nuanced approach to Iran, the Times editorial concludes:

"Mr. Trump’s determination to forge an anti-Iran alliance with the Sunni Arab states and isolate Iran could drift into military confrontation. The nuclear agreement negotiated between Iran and the United States could unravel, causing a split with America’s European allies. These are consequences that Mr. Trump, in his enthusiasm for Saudi Arabia, seems to have thought little about."

Apparently unbeknownst to the author of this editorial, such a confrontation already occurred last week in southern Syria, when US warplanes attacked an Iranian-commanded Hezbollah convoy which was approaching US, British and Jordanian special forces. Also apparently unbeknownst to the author of this editorial with respect to Obama's sacrosanct unsigned nuclear deal, a "moderate" Rouhani informed Iran's Supreme Cultural Revolution Council in 2004:

"While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan. . . . in fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan. Today, we can convert yellowcake into UF4 and UF6, and this is a very important matter."

Bottom line, with "moderates" like Rouhani, who needs "radicals"?

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