Posted By LambChop
- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
The American left is delighted with Obama’s outreach to the newly- elected President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. But the reality is that Rouhani is a very intelligent, sophisticated and highly skilled diplomat. Make no mistake; he is no moderate.
Born in Sorkheh, Iran in 1948, his family opposed the Shah of Iran. Rouhani attended religious seminaries studying under prominent Shia Scholars. As a young adult he attended the University of Iran earning a bachelors and masters in law and later a PHD at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Rouhani aligned with Ayatollah Khomeini early on and even fled Iran in 1977 with Khomeini who was exiled to Paris. They returned to Iran together and Rouhani embarked on a career of important government and military positions: secretary and representative of the Supreme Defense Council (1983-88), commander of the Iranian air defenses (1985-91), deputy commander of Iran's armed forces (1988-89), national security adviser to the president (1989-97) and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (1989-2005). He has been the lead negotiator of Iran’s nuclear armaments with the United States and other Western Nations.
Rouhani has stayed close to the centralized powers in Iran and at the same time, assuaged the fears of the religious traditionalists. He was an outspoken critic of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, focusing on themes of mismanagement and economic issues, promising reform to a country that has been hurt by western sanctions and a decade of repression, torture and executions led by Ahmadinejad.
Rouhani’s clever campaign slogan was campaign "moderation and wisdom." Despite this, he was originally thought to be a long shot to win especially with a more conservative candidate favored by Supreme Leader Khamenei.
Rouhani also has to balance the creeping political power of The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). They answer directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (NOT the president) and as their ranks have aged and retired, many of the IRGC veterans have found second careers in parliament.
Rouhani has carefully avoided the bombastic rhetoric favored by Ahmadinejad and instead skillfully played Obama, avoiding him during his trip to New York to speak at the UN, forcing Obama to make overtures first. After Rouhani's availability games that were an embarrassment to any sitting U.S. President, Obama went on to give Rouhani a million dollar gift - a 2,700 year old Persian artifact.
Speaking to CNN, Rouhani acknowledged the Holocaust, but took a swipe at Israel in a clever juxtaposition of the Holocaust and Israel’s alleged “occupation” of Palestine.
"But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created towards the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable. Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn. The taking of human life is contemptible. It makes no difference if that life is Jewish life, Christian or Muslim. For us it is the same. 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.’ This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an evenhanded discussion."
Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned the world to avoid being taken in by Rouhani’s softer stance and charming delivery saying, "One should not be taken in by Rouhani’s deceptive words.” Netanyahu fully understands the sophisticated negotiation techniques and duplicitous nature of President Rouhani – a weakness for President Obama who prefers a more direct approach.
Rouhani continues to claim the Iran is not in pursuit of the development of nuclear weapons, meanwhile intelligence gathering services worldwide have evidence that does not support his claim. Rouhani also knows that time is on his side. Delaying with diplomacy will continue to be his strategy... all the while developing nuclear capabilities. Hopefully the 2,700 year old Persian artifact (a "Trojan Griffin") was bugged.