Sunday, September 28, 2014

Arnold Ahlert: An Emboldened Iran Takes the Stage at the United Nations

by Arnold Ahlert

On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the United Nations in a speech replete with anti-Western sentiments, anti-Semitism, tiresome tropes regarding the genesis of terror, and promises to continue pursuing his nation’s nuclear program.

While acknowledging that terror had become a global issue, Rouhani sought to put the blame everywhere else. “Today’s anti-Westernism is the offspring of yesterday’s colonialism,” Rouhani insisted, proceeding to take a none-too-subtle shot at America, noting that “certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hands of madmen, who now spare no one.” Apparently omitted from this list of madmen is Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has received direct support from Iran in the form of financial assistance, and despite all denials to the contrary, hundreds of Revolutionary Guard troops fighting in that nation. Iran also supports Hezbollah and Hamas, both of whom have been designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department.

Thus, it was no surprise that Rouhani characterized the last war between Hamas and Israel as a conflict in which “thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza” were victims of the “Zionist regime’s aggression,” even as he characterized his own nation—the one that has openly boasted about sharing missile technology with Hamas to improve their ability to hit Israeli cities—as one of “tranquil secure and stable nations” in the Middle East.

Rouhani also aligned himself with the American left’s thoroughly misguided notions about the root of terror, “that germinates in poverty, discrimination, humiliation and injustice” that “grows in a culture of violence.” Several studies have thoroughly debunked that contention, yet it provides Rouhani and other apologists the opportunity to obscure the reality that Islamic fundamentalism is the primary driver of terror throughout the world. Thus, Rouhani expresses “astonishment” that groups like ISIS “call themselves Islamic” and that the Western media “repeats this false claim, which provokes hatred of all Muslims” and is “part of a (sic) Islamophobic project.” Like every other religion, Rouhani insists Islam is peaceful, and like every other prophet, the taking of even one innocent life is condemned by the prophet Mohammed.

Not quite. The Qur’an is filled with verses promoting violence and death against unbelievers, all the innocence in the world notwithstanding. Furthermore, the concept of abrogation explains that later verses in the Qur’an take precedence over earlier ones. Almost all of the violent verses appear later in the book.

Rouhani nonetheless continued his deceptive characterization of the real problems of the Middle East. “The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle-East, Central Asia and the Caucuses have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists,” he insists, citing Iraq, Afghanistan and the “improper interference in Syria” as examples. He further insists the Middle East wants democracy—even as it impossible to believe he is unaware of the reality that democracy and Sharia Law are fundamentally incompatible systems of governance.

That reality made itself plain last week, when six Iranians were given suspended sentences of six months and 91 lashes for “obscene behavior” for appearing in a video singing the American pop song “Happy.”

They got off easy. In August, 16-year-old Ateqeh Rajabi was hanged in the Iranian town of Neka. She was executed for having sex with her boyfriend. She was one of several victims executed for sexual “crimes” that violated Sharia Law.

Unsurprisingly, Rouhani addressed the issue of sanctions, calling them a “strategic mistake against a moderate and independent nation under the current sensitive condition of our region.” He falsely framed the issue as one where the “will of Iranian people,” rather than the economic squeeze imposed on his country, reinvigorated the current negotiations that were continuing in good faith, even as he warned that any other solution to Iran’s pursuit of nukes would be a “grave mistake.”

Rouhani made it clear that his nation remains “committed to our peaceful nuclear program” and that the “avoidance of excessive demands in the negotiations by our counterparts is the prerequisite for success in the negotiations.” He then tied those negotiations to the “beginning of a multilateral collaboration aimed at promoting security, peace and development in our region and beyond.”

In short, Iran wants to use nuclear negotiations as a bargaining chip in the fight against terror.
The Obama administration has sent out conflicting signals with regard to such a scenario. Publicly they claim they will not share intelligence, or coordinate military activity, with the nation still designated “world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism” by the State Department. Yet prior to bombing ISIS in Syria, the administration notified Iran about it, and reassured them they would not target the government of Bashar Assad, who remains a terrorist-abetting proxy of Iran. Furthermore, an unnamed Iranian official told Reuters that “military and security issues are being shared to fight against IS.” Secretary of State John Kerry also revealed he was “open to have a conversation at some point in time if there’s a way to find something constructive.”

Rouhani reiterated that a “historic” nuclear agreement with Iran is one where the West can show “that it does not oppose the advancement and development of others and does not discriminate when it comes to adhering to international rules and regulations.” He doubled-down on those questioning his nation’s motives, insisting “the notion that Iran seeks to control other Muslim countries in the region is a myth fanned in the recent years in the context of an Iranophobic context,” and that those who do so “breed imaginary enemies to sustain tensions and sow division and conflict.” He called for a “right approach” to the terror problem, insisting the proper solution comes from “within the region and regionally provided solution (sic) with international support and not from the (sic) outside the region.”

As it stands now, Rouhani’s “solution” aligns perfectly with an Obama administration seemingly convinced it can fight a proxy war from the air, while the nations of the Middle East ostensibly cobble together the “boots on the ground” necessary to degrade and destroy ISIS and other terror entities congealing in the caliphate that straddles Iraq and Syria. In the meantime, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-abaci revealed that ISIS terrorists captured in his nation said the group is planning subway attacks in Paris and the United States.

One wonders when—or is that if—it will occur to the Obama administration that prolonging this conflict emboldens terrorists, not only in the Middle East, but all over the world, including the 40 ISIS fighters from America the administration admits have returned home. With regard to Iran, prolonging the conflict allows them to use it as leverage in what ought to be seen as fruitless negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

In fact the negotiations are now bordering on the absurd, as the administration has reportedly floated a proposal that allows Iran to disconnect thousands of centrifuges, rather than dismantle them. A senior administration official offered the administration’s rationale to the New York Times, insisting that “it takes a lot of time to put a cascade together, and piping is one of the most time-consuming parts of that laborious process.” Yet other experts noted this idea has been floated many times over the last decade, a reality that likely indicates a certain level of desperation on the part of the P5+1 nations who are under pressure to complete a deal—even a bad one–by Nov. 24.

Toward that end, the Obama administration has been touting the idea that Rouhani is a “moderate,” a notion that calculatingly ignores his abysmal human rights record and the reality that he is little more than a front man for the genuine seat of power in Iran: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his band of nihilistic mullahs. Mullahs who yearn for the re-emergence of the Twelfth or Hidden Imam that will bring about a period of chaos. In 2010 Khamenei claimed he met the Hidden Imam and said he was assured that his reemergence would occur while Khamenei was still Supreme Leader.

Rouhani’s speech at the U.N. should be seen for exactly what it is: a more aggressive “charm offensive” by the latest representative of the world’s foremost sponsor of state terror. Moreover, a nuclear Iran would precipitate a nightmarish nuclear arms race in the most unstable region in the world. And despite every obfuscation on the part of the Obama administration, and their equally weak-kneed European allies, those are the real stakes. Stakes that include the real possibility of Iran supplying such weapons to terrorists.

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to, and He may be reached at


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