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The results of Iran’s presidential election are in, and the winner is Hassan Rouhani (we’ve seen it spelled a variety of ways, but this way seems most-true to the pronunciation of his name). The media will fall all over themselves telling you that Mr. Rouhani is a moderate. He isn’t. They’ll tell you that his election suggests a willingness on Iran’s part to make changes in its policies – especially its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It doesn’t.
Mr. Rouhani will put a friendlier face on the Iranian regime which, in many ways, makes him more dangerous than his predecessor, the flamboyantly odious Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Where Ahmadinejad was overly anti-Semitic and anti-Western, Mr. Rouhani will walk more softly. His policies will be exactly the same, and the Islamists holding his leash are the same America- and Jew-hating clerics as before. Rouhani was as firm as the other candidates in advocating Iran’s right to its nuclear program. Yes, as you’ll certainly hear, he did call for talks to end the standoff between Iran and the international community – but when he talks about an end to the standoff, he means that Iran keeps working on nuclear weapons and the West lifts sanctions and leaves them alone.
Because Rouhani’s tone will be less acidic, those who understand that Iran’s commitment to develop nuclear weapons is unchanged and undiminished will need to make that point clear to our lawmakers. Otherwise, we are in danger of Western governments doing what they do best: choosing to believe that the easy path is the appropriate path based on the words of tyrants.Comments (17) »
Monday, June 17th, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Stand For Israel
Ariel Ben Solomon, writing in the Jerusalem Post, points out that there is tremendous danger in the election of new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. Anyone would be a public relations improvement over the walking diplomatic disaster of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but having a president whose positions on issues are virtually indistinguishable from the former president, and whose demeanor is more palatable, could cause real problems.
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The election of cleric Hassan Rohani as president of Iran could damage Israel’s national interest, according to some analysts. They argue that his promises to improve relations with the West and calm tensions at home will ease international pressure over Tehran’s nuclear program. Rohani’s description by some as a moderate has many in the West believing that negotiations may now bear fruit and as a result, sanctions could be lessened.
Monday, June 17th, 2013 at 7:49 AM | Stand For Israel
Here’s an amazing article about a group of young people of Iranian descent who met with Holocaust survivors in Haifa, Israel, and came away transformed by the experience:
Team Leader Darius Zrian knelt before [Holocaust survivor Shoshana] Kolmer and said, “It is a privilege and a great honor for us to hear about your life. It is difficult to accept and understand what happened to you and the other people who experienced the Holocaust. Perhaps only God can.”
He said that as a child, he was raised to hate Israel. “I am from Hamadan in southern Iran. Every morning at school the day was opened with the shout, “Death to Israel.” Only years later when I became a Christian, I realized it was the religious land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I’m very happy we came here and heard these things.”
One of the group also remarked, ”I was in shock when I heard that [Iranian president] Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust. I was embarrassed from the ignorance, and frustrated. Really, we have no way to influence the Iranian government, but we can pass on the stories we’ve heard here.”
When the last Holocaust survivor dies, there will be no more firsthand witnesses to this devastating chapter in history. With that in mind, it’s ever more critical that we follow the lead of this young Iranian by listening, learning, and passing the stories along.Comments (3) »
Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at 2:11 PM | Stand For Israel
Elliott Abrams has a terrific piece comparing Hezbollah’s recently announced decision to ramp up its pro-Assad military activity in Syria with the Cold War-era Soviet “Brezhnev Doctrine” whereby the Soviet Union would not permit a country that had allied itself to the Warsaw Pact to extricate itself – all of this, of course, with Iran holding Hezbollah’s leash.
The key question now is whether we are willing to accept a Khamenei Doctrine, whereby no state that is part of the Iran/Hezbollah security system is permitted to leave it. Of course, the Brezhnev Doctrine was that of a global superpower armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons; the Khamenei Doctrine is that of a third world state, Iran, of only 75 million people and so far without a nuclear arsenal. And this is what makes the American position to date so incomprehensible, and so dangerous. Nasrallah and Khamenei are taking a gamble based on their assessment of us–that we will do nothing even in the face of their sending expeditionary forces to Syria. So far they have been proved right.
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Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Stand For Israel
Dr. Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, writes in the Washington Post that, with all the attention being paid to the Middle East, the world is ignoring the quietest but most important encroaching danger in an already dangerous part of the world: the gathering storm cloud of the Iranian nuclear threat.
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While the Middle East roils, the Iranians have amassed some 182 kilograms of uranium enriched to a level easily enhanced to weapons grade. This stockpile stops short of the red line drawn by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the Iranians are quietly preparing to cross it.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 10:36 AM | Stand For Israel
The Unites States Senate voted 99-0 yesterday on a resolution which resolves to “support Israel if it were forced to defend itself from an Iranian nuclear threat.” The “Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013″ seeks to put tighter sanctions on Iran, in an effort to slow and/or disable its nuclear arms program, and to support the Jewish state in its necessary efforts of self-defense.
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WASHINGTON — AIPAC applauds the US Senate for unanimously pledging to stand by our Israeli ally should it take military action in its own legitimate defense against the nuclear threat from Iran. The Senate action on Resolution S. R. 65 comes at a critical moment as Iran stands on the verge of attaining nuclear weapons capability following repeated defiance of the international community.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 at 3:57 PM | Stand For Israel
Two of the most-recognizable candidates for president of Iran have been disqualified – including one we told you about here. Mehdi Khalaji at Project Syndicate writes that the ongoing conflict between outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Islamist clerics who rule Iran is brought out in the open by the presidential campaign and the people allowed to contest it.
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With nothing to lose, Ahmadinejad could decide to destabilize the Islamic Republic if he considers it necessary for his survival. Indeed, now that the Guardian Council has disqualified Mashai from the presidential race, Ahmadinejad’s resentment will probably manifest itself in behavior before and after the election, such as releasing information on high-level corruption. He might also oppose Khamenei directly, portraying himself as a patriotic anti-clerical figure. But such an approach would be dangerous; indeed, it could cost Ahmadinejad his life.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 at 9:25 AM | Stand For Israel
Late last week, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani jumped into the June 14 “race” to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s President. (More on the scare quotes around the word “race” in moment.)
In the coming days and weeks, you are likely to hear Rafsanjani referred to by Western media as a “moderate” and/or a “reformer” (Agence France Presse went so far as to call him “the pragmatic moderate”). He is certainly pragmatic – far more than Ahmadinejad. But he is not moderate by any known definition of the word. As Speaker of the Iranian parliament during the ‘80s, he supervised the Iranian government’s relationship with Hezbollah. Rafsanjani bragged – in Farsi, of course – about Iran’s role in the kidnapping of hostages in Lebanon in the ‘80s. He is, like the government he has served virtually his whole adult life, a theocrat, an Islamo-supremacist, and an anti-Semite – check out this video of him talking about why Hitler “really” wanted to get rid of the Jews. He supports Iran’s nuclear program, believes in Iran’s proxy wars with Israel, and views the United States as the Great Satan. Unlike Ahmadinejad, he looks like a kind old man and doesn’t speak with quite as forked a tongue – thus, to many in the media, he’s a moderate. (more…)Comments (5) »
Monday, May 13th, 2013 at 9:11 AM | Stand For Israel
Gary Gambill, writing at the Middle East Forum, has a must-read on the general expendability of Bashar el-Assad. According to Gambill, it is Iran (not Assad) that is the key player in the Syrian conflict, and that Tehran’s interest in keeping Syria within its sphere of influence is the key determinate of how and how long the war will continue.
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Syria will be at war for as long as Iran is willing to finance and resupply clients committed to resisting the rebel takeover. The rebels are not unified enough (or moderate enough) to credibly offer concessions that might entice predominantly non-Sunni pro-regime combatants to spurn Iranian protection. If Assad chooses to take a golden parachute, others will surely be found to lead the fight against Syria’s departure from the Iranian axis. They may, over time and at great human and material cost, be forced underground, but Syria will not be at peace until Iran throws in the towel (if then).
Thursday, May 9th, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Stand For Israel
Walter Russell Mead, writing at his blog, notes that the recent sale of arms by the U.S. to Israel may signal a new American tactic vis-à-vis Iran: since the mullahs know all too well that there is no stomach in the United States for military action, it’s possible that the very public green-lighting of an Israeli attack (including the arms with which to carry it out) is what will pass for an American military option.
Unfortunately, the administration’s attempt here to tighten the screws on Tehran by using Israel as a credible threat of force is unlikely to impress the mullahs. The weapons package to Israel does not include the Pentagon’s new bunker-buster bomb, which many believe would be necessary to seriously damage Iran’s underground facility at Fordow. More, the NYT reports that, at 30,000 pounds, the bomb can only be carried by a B-2 bomber, which Israel doesn’t have and which the Obama administration won’t even discuss selling.
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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 8:46 AM | Stand For Israel