Time to end the Iranian 'reformist-moderate' hoax

Eight years of Barack Obama’s tenure has come to an end.  We are also winding down on the first, and maybe last, term of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.  This should mark the long overdue end of the U.S.-Iran appeasement doctrine, based on a mirage of “reformists” and/or “moderates” actually existing inside the extremist establishment ruling Iran.

If you search mainstream media for news about Iran, there has always seemed to be an ongoing deafening chorus of “reformists” gaining the upper hand.  This has a long history.

When then-senior cleric Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani became president back in 1989, many claimed he was a newly found “reformist,” forgetting his role as commander of Iran’s armed forces through the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War and the horrific summer 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners across Iran.  Rafsanjani can also be dubbed the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons drive and went on to launch an atrocious series of assassinations targeting exiled dissidents, dubbed the “chain murders.”

Then came Mohammad Khatami, and the appeasement camp in the West went mad, claiming he, too, was a “reformist” and “moderate,” with their sole argument most likely based on the fact that he smiled.  During his first term, Khatami showed his true face by blessing the vicious crackdown of the 1999 student uprisings that rattled the very foundations of the mullahs’ entire establishment.

When Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei needed to tighten his regime’s belts following the toppling or the occupation of neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan, he selected – yes, selected firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president to pursue his nuclear weapons drive, parallel to covert meddling in Iraq and across the entire Middle East.

During this phase, instead of admitting to their failure in finding any so-called “reformist” or “moderate” in Iran, the West’s appeasement entourage claimed that their initiative was neglected and did not receive the support it deserves.  They seemingly forgot the support they enjoyed from the long slate of governments and mainstream outlets.

In 2013, when Khamenei realized he could no longer continue his macho tactics in the face of international sanctions bringing his economy to its knees, he pulled another “reformist” out of his hat.  Hassan Rouhani, another grinning mullah, was appointed yes, appointed by Khamenei, since there is no concept of elections, as understood in the West, in Iran to facilitate his decision to backtrack on his regime’s drive for nuclear weapons and save face during the process.

Despite the West’s appeasement camp going the limits in portraying Rouhani as a “reformist/moderate” figure, they quickly forgot how he served as secretary of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council and boasted of deceiving the Europeans during the 2003 Paris nuclear negotiations.  During his tenure, Rouhani has presided over nearly 3,000 executions, a record far worse than his predecessors.

On the Syria conflict, Rouhani has continuously supported Iran’s backing of ruthless dictator Bashar Assad and even opposed calls to halt the violence.

“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday joined in opposing a call by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to halt all flights over Syria in efforts to get relief shipments through,” as reported by the Daily Mail.

Obama is departing the White House, signaling the end of a “golden era” for the Iranian regime, and the new Donald Trump administration and Republican Congress are taking over in Washington.  To this end, the time has come for America to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people and their long struggle for freedom and democracy.

Nearly two dozen former senior U.S. government officials hand-delivered a letter to now president-elect Trump urging him to work with the Iranian opposition, symbolized in Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

This represents the best possible launching pad to end the appeasement policy based on the illusion of any such notion of “reformists” or “moderates” inside the brutal Iranian regime.

Heshmat Alavi is a political and rights activist.  His writing focuses on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program.  He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi and blogs at IranCommentary.

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