Friday, October 4, 2013

Israel vs. Iran at the U.N.

by Majid Rafizadeh

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When it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, one of the countries that would be the first target and would experience the severe repercussions of an Islamist nuclear-armed Iran is Israel. This issue of a nuclear- armed Iran led by an Islamist regime has become more critical and dreadful due to the geographic proximity of Iran and Tel Aviv (merely half the distance between New York and Los Angeles), along with its fundamentalist ideology.

After President Hassan Rouhani attempted to appear, and disguise himself, as a moderate by using a conciliatory tone, outreaching to the West and the United States, advocating for human rights by releasing a few prisoners out of the thousands of lawyers and political activists in jail, and keeping a smile while delivering his speech at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his speech in response to Rouhani’s rhetoric.

The geographic proximity of Israel and Iran, along with Israel’s first-hand knowledge of Iranian and Arab culture in the Middle East and the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran, has led Israeli leaders to understand, analyze and fully comprehend the politics of the ruling clerics and Ayatollahs of Iran better than their Western counterparts, European allies, and even the Obama administration.

The first critical issue that Netanyahu pointed out was on the ideological unity of the clerics (across all of Iran’s political spectrum: reformists, moderates, centrists, hardliners, conservative, and principalists). Netanyahu stated, “They’ve all served that same unforgiving creed, that same unforgiving regime”.

Rouhani was a friend of Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamist and theocratic regime. Through the last 34 years of the Islamist regime, Rouhani climbed the political ladder by fulfilling Islamist principles and ideals. He has been a member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999, a part of the notorious Supreme National Security Council since 1989, a member of the Expediency Council since 1991, and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992.

Therefore, the major question is why Iranian Islamist clerics and Rouhani are following this “disguised smile policy”?  It comes down to the very international and unilateral economic sanctions that have brought the Islamist regime to its knees. Iran’s inflations has spiked, the Iranian currency the Rial has devalued, oil exports have dropped, and there is a huge risk of revolt that would endanger the hold on power of the Ayatollahs and the clerics. This “disguised smile policy” is a strategic move by the ruling clerics in the Islamic Republic.  The Shiite-Islamist principle of Taqiyya, which is very popular Iran and among the Iranian Ayatollahs and clerics, allows the Shiite ruling Muslims to lie and to see lying not only as acceptable, but also as mandatory for accomplishing and achieving one’s own objectives.

The second issue that Netanyahu addressed in his speech at the UN General Assembly this week is the comparison between Iran and North Korea. As the Israeli government has pointed out, a nuclear-armed Islamist regime of Iran would be geopolitically and militarily much more dangerous than North Korea. The key reason is that Iran and the Iranian Ayatollahs will infuse their Islamist Shiite ideology to nuclear ambitions and a nuclear program. As a result, Iranian leaders will not only have nuclear arms and weapons, but also will use Jihadist and Islamist ideology when it comes to deploying those warheads and weapons. As stated at the UN General Assembly speech this week, Iran’s politics and ideology are close to, and an even more extreme version of, those of Europe’s fascist dictatorships of the 20th century.

The third fundamental thing is related to facts and actions rather than words. As the saying goes, actions speaks louder than words— Iran is still spinning its centrifuges and enriching uranium while Rouhani has launched his “charm offensive.” Tehran is now enriching uranium at 20 percent purity, which is considered to be a relatively technical short step from obtaining weapons-grade material and arms. Netanyahu stated, “I wish I could believe Rouhani, but I don’t,” telling the General Assembly with Iran’s vacant seats, “Because facts are stubborn things and the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.”

As the West and the United States seem to be easing their economic sanctions on Iran and mending relationships because of Rouhani’s charm offensive and smile policy, Iran is continuing to enrich uranium at 20 percent, defy the International Atomic Energy Agency standards (IAEA), and crack down on lawyers, human rights and political activists. It seems that the West may awake to the truth of the situation one day, but when it is too late and when Iran is already a nuclear-armed state accompanied with its Islamist ideology.

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-Syrian scholar, is the president of the International American Council on the Middle East.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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