It is Time to Remove the Persian Mask

On Wednesday, March 5th, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted an Iranian Ship, the Clos-C, which had within it a cache of deadly weapons, including 40 M-302 rockets, 181 mortar shells, and about 400,000 bullets. The ship was bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza.

On Thursday, the people in the towns of southern Israel were bombarded with approximately 60 rockets lobbed at them from Gaza. The children in towns like Sderot once again have only 15 seconds to run into their shielded rooms, and are wetting their beds and suffering from nightmares. This round of fighting could have been even more deadly had the IDF not seized the Iranian ship.

This Saturday night, Jews around the world began celebrating the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the turning over of a death decree that had been levied against the Jews of ancient Persia. It is a time when Jews all over the world celebrate with the giving gifts to the poor, packages of treats to one another, and celebrate by wearing costumes and masks.

We look at modern Persia, which is today The Islamic Republic of Iran, and we see that it is the puppet-master behind most of the world’s terrorism. It is about time we unmask the true evil that lurks behind the relatively attractive face of its president, Hassan Rouhani.

The Iranian mullahs are nothing if not clever, and they realized that the straight-talking former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was isolating their country, and his forthright and candid talk of “Wiping Israel off the map” only served to strangle their economy with crippling sanctions.

So the mullahs allowed a relatively unknown, benign face, Hassan Rouhani, to run in their elections last summer. Immediately after he won the election, papers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times proclaimed him as a “moderate” and a “reformer”. In the fall, he embarked on a charm offensive and gave an eloquent speech where he sounded more like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King than the person who gave the order to attack the AMIA, the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds.

Behind the mask, Hassan Rouhani has always been a part of the inner Islamic ruling circle in Tehran, close to both the first ayatollah, Ruhollah Khomeini, as well to the current ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While running for office he openly boasted about how he had used his status as a nuclear negotiator to deceive the international community  and boasted of taking Iran “from a mere 150 centrifuges to 1,750”, and to introducing “the yellowcake” and the “heavy water plutonium enrichment facility in Arak.”

Yet, most the international community willingly had their pants charmed off of them by Mr. Rouhani’s charm offensive, within the United Nations. Shortly thereafter,the P5 +1 nations, (The United States, France, Great Britain, China, Russia, plus Germany,) entered into a series of negotiations. At the end of the negotiations Secretary of State John Kerry, proclaimed, “For the first time in decades, we have succeeded in halting Iran’s nuclear program.”

But on January 14th, after a second round of negotiations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted to the world, through a tweet, “Our relationship with the world is based on Iranian national interests.”

It is patently clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran has absolutely no intention whatsoever of destroying any aspect of its nuclear program, despite what much of the international community has been led to believe. Just days after the interim agreement, or Plan of Action, was signed in January, President Rouhani spoke to CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria in Geneva where he reported that the “Iranian President forcefully asserted that he would not destroy its nuclear centrifuges under any circumstances.” This interview came at a time when the American government had already released $8 billion in assets that had been frozen since the Islamic revolution in Iran. Since then, according to most experts, the Iranians have experienced a surge in their economy just for deigning to sit down at the table with the P5+1 nations.

So much so that many experts in the field estimate that at least $20 billion in new commerce and trade is expected to flow into Iran. The stock exchange in Tehran is soaring, and the Iranian economic has gotten a huge psychological boost.

The interim deal allows the Iranians to keep 50% of their stockpile of highly enriched uranium (at 20% enrichment), and to dilute the other 50%. Iran is also permitted to continue with enrichment, but is not permitted to take it beyond the 5% level during the next few months, although there is no method of enforcement. This gives one very little assurance. It requires only 5 days to go from 20 per cent to 90 per cent highly enriched uranium, (the purity level necessary for a nuclear bomb), and 45 days to get from 5 % to 90%. In other words, all of the compliance to this agreement can easily be reversed within a matter of weeks, or even days.

Many otherwise savvy, sophisticated, and sagacious people around the globe have been lulled into slumber, thinking that the menace of the threat of a nuclear bomb has been taken care of by these negotiations. The disastrous nature of the current agreement inspired The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) to put out this video warning of the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and encouraging citizens to take action.

Iran is working on a missile program that can reach the Eastern Seaboard of the Continental United States by the middle of 2015. Yet, on Wednesday in Tehran, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi said, “Issues related to our missile program and defensive capabilities lie outside the negotiations and we may never accept to discuss this issue.”

Iran is a threat to the United States, not just her allies abroad. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, one of the first things the new Iranian government did was seize the American Embassy, taking 52 of our embassy officials hostage and holding them for 444 days. This is commemorated every year on November 4th, by the annual “Death to America Day,” replete with chanting and burning of the America flag. It is Iran that bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 sleeping American Marines.  It is Iran that maimed and killed thousands of American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan with their IEDs. It is Iran that has constantly armed Hizb’allah and Hamas, and it is Iran that this month sent a ship bound to Hamas-controlled Gaza that had within it containers of long-range missiles that could easily reached much of Europe and the Arab states, let alone all of Israel.

By framing the conversation as involving Israel alone, which the Iranian regime regards as only  “the Minor Satan”,  focus has been taken off of the very real threat that Iran poses to the United States, which they regard as “the Great Satan.”

Many in the international community have been willfully taken in by the duplicitous strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a merciless, brutal regime has executed close to 95 people in the last few months, and over 500 in this past year for the “crimes” of being a member of a religious minority, for being against the regime, or of being accused of homosexuality. In June of 2009, millions of beautiful, freedom-loving dissidents took to the streets, and were bludgeoned to death or mysteriously disappeared into the notorious Evin Prison, never to be heard from again.

As the late Soviet dissident Andre Sakharov once said, “If you want to understand what a nation’s foreign policy will look like, look at the way, they treat their dissident population.”

The threat posed by a nuclear Iran is real and it is imminent, even to us, here in the United States. This holiday of Purim, it about time we remove their masks.

Sarah Stern is Founder and President of EMET, The Endowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro -Israel and pro-American think tank and policy shop in our nation’s capitol.

On Wednesday, March 5th, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted an Iranian Ship, the Clos-C, which had within it a cache of deadly weapons, including 40 M-302 rockets, 181 mortar shells, and about 400,000 bullets. The ship was bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza.

On Thursday, the people in the towns of southern Israel were bombarded with approximately 60 rockets lobbed at them from Gaza. The children in towns like Sderot once again have only 15 seconds to run into their shielded rooms, and are wetting their beds and suffering from nightmares. This round of fighting could have been even more deadly had the IDF not seized the Iranian ship.

This Saturday night, Jews around the world began celebrating the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the turning over of a death decree that had been levied against the Jews of ancient Persia. It is a time when Jews all over the world celebrate with the giving gifts to the poor, packages of treats to one another, and celebrate by wearing costumes and masks.

We look at modern Persia, which is today The Islamic Republic of Iran, and we see that it is the puppet-master behind most of the world’s terrorism. It is about time we unmask the true evil that lurks behind the relatively attractive face of its president, Hassan Rouhani.

The Iranian mullahs are nothing if not clever, and they realized that the straight-talking former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was isolating their country, and his forthright and candid talk of “Wiping Israel off the map” only served to strangle their economy with crippling sanctions.

So the mullahs allowed a relatively unknown, benign face, Hassan Rouhani, to run in their elections last summer. Immediately after he won the election, papers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times proclaimed him as a “moderate” and a “reformer”. In the fall, he embarked on a charm offensive and gave an eloquent speech where he sounded more like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King than the person who gave the order to attack the AMIA, the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds.

Behind the mask, Hassan Rouhani has always been a part of the inner Islamic ruling circle in Tehran, close to both the first ayatollah, Ruhollah Khomeini, as well to the current ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While running for office he openly boasted about how he had used his status as a nuclear negotiator to deceive the international community  and boasted of taking Iran “from a mere 150 centrifuges to 1,750”, and to introducing “the yellowcake” and the “heavy water plutonium enrichment facility in Arak.”

Yet, most the international community willingly had their pants charmed off of them by Mr. Rouhani’s charm offensive, within the United Nations. Shortly thereafter,the P5 +1 nations, (The United States, France, Great Britain, China, Russia, plus Germany,) entered into a series of negotiations. At the end of the negotiations Secretary of State John Kerry, proclaimed, “For the first time in decades, we have succeeded in halting Iran’s nuclear program.”

But on January 14th, after a second round of negotiations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted to the world, through a tweet, “Our relationship with the world is based on Iranian national interests.”

It is patently clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran has absolutely no intention whatsoever of destroying any aspect of its nuclear program, despite what much of the international community has been led to believe. Just days after the interim agreement, or Plan of Action, was signed in January, President Rouhani spoke to CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria in Geneva where he reported that the “Iranian President forcefully asserted that he would not destroy its nuclear centrifuges under any circumstances.” This interview came at a time when the American government had already released $8 billion in assets that had been frozen since the Islamic revolution in Iran. Since then, according to most experts, the Iranians have experienced a surge in their economy just for deigning to sit down at the table with the P5+1 nations.

So much so that many experts in the field estimate that at least $20 billion in new commerce and trade is expected to flow into Iran. The stock exchange in Tehran is soaring, and the Iranian economic has gotten a huge psychological boost.

The interim deal allows the Iranians to keep 50% of their stockpile of highly enriched uranium (at 20% enrichment), and to dilute the other 50%. Iran is also permitted to continue with enrichment, but is not permitted to take it beyond the 5% level during the next few months, although there is no method of enforcement. This gives one very little assurance. It requires only 5 days to go from 20 per cent to 90 per cent highly enriched uranium, (the purity level necessary for a nuclear bomb), and 45 days to get from 5 % to 90%. In other words, all of the compliance to this agreement can easily be reversed within a matter of weeks, or even days.

Many otherwise savvy, sophisticated, and sagacious people around the globe have been lulled into slumber, thinking that the menace of the threat of a nuclear bomb has been taken care of by these negotiations. The disastrous nature of the current agreement inspired The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) to put out this video warning of the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and encouraging citizens to take action.

Iran is working on a missile program that can reach the Eastern Seaboard of the Continental United States by the middle of 2015. Yet, on Wednesday in Tehran, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi said, “Issues related to our missile program and defensive capabilities lie outside the negotiations and we may never accept to discuss this issue.”

Iran is a threat to the United States, not just her allies abroad. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, one of the first things the new Iranian government did was seize the American Embassy, taking 52 of our embassy officials hostage and holding them for 444 days. This is commemorated every year on November 4th, by the annual “Death to America Day,” replete with chanting and burning of the America flag. It is Iran that bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 sleeping American Marines.  It is Iran that maimed and killed thousands of American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan with their IEDs. It is Iran that has constantly armed Hizb’allah and Hamas, and it is Iran that this month sent a ship bound to Hamas-controlled Gaza that had within it containers of long-range missiles that could easily reached much of Europe and the Arab states, let alone all of Israel.

By framing the conversation as involving Israel alone, which the Iranian regime regards as only  “the Minor Satan”,  focus has been taken off of the very real threat that Iran poses to the United States, which they regard as “the Great Satan.”

Many in the international community have been willfully taken in by the duplicitous strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a merciless, brutal regime has executed close to 95 people in the last few months, and over 500 in this past year for the “crimes” of being a member of a religious minority, for being against the regime, or of being accused of homosexuality. In June of 2009, millions of beautiful, freedom-loving dissidents took to the streets, and were bludgeoned to death or mysteriously disappeared into the notorious Evin Prison, never to be heard from again.

As the late Soviet dissident Andre Sakharov once said, “If you want to understand what a nation’s foreign policy will look like, look at the way, they treat their dissident population.”

The threat posed by a nuclear Iran is real and it is imminent, even to us, here in the United States. This holiday of Purim, it about time we remove their masks.

Sarah Stern is Founder and President of EMET, The Endowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro -Israel and pro-American think tank and policy shop in our nation’s capitol.