Western media swoons over new 'moderate' Iranian leader

If it weren't so pathetic, it would be comical.

Headline from the Guardian: "Iran has changed course. Now the US must do the same."

New York Times: "From Inner Circle of Iran, a Pragmatic Victor"

NPR: "Iran Elects Moderate Cleric Hasan Rouhani President"

Did John McCain put on clerical garb and run for president in Iran? Did Mitt Romney grow a beard and move to Tehran?

No, my friends at the Guardian, Iran has not "changed course." At least the NY Times got it half right; Irani's new president, Hassan Rohani, is indeed, from the inner circle of power, but as far as him being a pragmatist, on what evidence do they base this theory?

Hassan Rohani would not have spent the last 35 years of his life at the very center of power in the Islamic Republic of Iran without accepting some basic, fundamental truths.

1. Israel must cease to exist.

2. The west is evil and must be destroyed.

3. The US is the "Great Satan."

Find a moderate in that witches brew of hate - I dare you.

Sohrab Ahmari writing in the Wall Street Journal:

But disillusionment with seemingly heroic new leaders promising change is a centuries-old theme in Iranian history. The current regime's theocratic structure--with a supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, and numerous unaccountable bodies lording over popularly elected officials--will soon remind voters that this latest hero has little room to maneuver.

That is, if he's inclined to seek change in the first place. The new Iranian president was born Hassan Feridon in 1948 in Iran's Semnan province. He entered religious studies in Qom as a child but went on to earn a secular law degree from Tehran University in 1969.

Mr. Rohani spent Iran's revolutionary days as a close companion of the Ayatollah Khomeini and would go on to hold top posts during the Islamic Republic's first two decades in power. For 16 years starting in 1989, Mr. Rohani served as secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. During his tenure on the council, Mr. Rohani led the crackdown on a 1999 student uprising and helped the regime evade Western scrutiny of its nuclear-weapons program.

As Mr. Rohani said at a pro-regime rally in July 1999: "At dusk yesterday we received a decisive revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements wherever it may occur. From today our people shall witness how in the arena our law enforcement force . . . shall deal with these opportunists and riotous elements, if they simply dare to show their faces."

Some "moderate," huh? The result of Rohani's rant was an atrocity:

The "opportunists and riotous elements" Mr. Rohani referred to were university students staging pro-democracy protests. His words at the time were widely viewed as a declaration of war, authorizing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the basij militia to unleash hell on Tehran's campuses.

Reza Mohajerinejad was one of those students. A founder of the National Union of Iranian Students and Graduates in the 1990s, he resides today in the San Francisco Bay area. Speaking in a phone interview on Saturday, Mr. Mohajerinejad recalled how after Mr. Rohani's statement in 1999 security forces "poured into the dorm rooms and murdered students right in front of our eyes."

Mr. Mohajerinejad was arrested and detained for six months. Among other torture methods they used, his captors during this era of "reform" would tie him to a bed and whip his feet to a pulp. In between flogging sessions, the imprisoned students would be forced to run laps on their bloody feet or be suspended from their wrists for hours at a time.

"If we're ever going to get freedom and democracy," Mr. Mohajerinejad now says, "we're not going to get them from Rouhani."

When Mikhail Gorbachev was chosen to lead the Communist party and serve as Prime Minister in the Soviet Union, the western media had a similar reaction. But the same year that Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace prize (for not sending in the tanks when eastern european countries threw off the yolk of Soviet rule), the "pragmatic reformer" forced 10,000 Russian citizens into mental hospitals because, obviously, you'd have to be crazy not to believe you were living in a workers' paradise. There was also no let up to atrocities being committed by the Soviet army in Afghanistan.

Rohani is a creature of the system that he has worked for all of his adult life. He would not have risen in the ranks if he did not fervently believe in and accept the regime's fundamental goals and ideology. It is crazy to think that this fellow is anything but a hardline Islamic fascist who thinks women are little better than beasts of burden, that America and the west are evil, that Israel should be wiped off the map, and that the regime should build a nuclear weapon.

Kidding ourselves that he is anything else is incredibly dangerous.


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