Rouhani, right, with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
* Al-Sharq al-Awsat: “I hate your government, your lies, your corruption, your religion,” wrote the future president’s son to his father in his suicide note
* Tom Gross: Like many leading members of other extreme anti-Western organizations such as Hamas and al-Qaeda, Rouhani also has a Western education: he has a Ph.D. in law from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland
* Rouhani has been involved in the Islamic revolution since its murderous beginning. He accompanied the Ayatollah Khomeini back from Paris to Tehran and since then has held a number of key security positions in a regime which has killed and tortured hundreds of thousands of people. Rouhani has called for the execution of pro-democracy student protesters whom he said should be crushed “mercilessly and monumentally”
* His most notable position was Chairman of the Supreme National Security Council during which time the Council helped mastermind the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people (including many elderly Holocaust survivors)
* Intelligence sources say that Rouhani easily outwitted and out-negotiated the European troika of nuclear negotiators from Germany, France and Britain, from 2003-5 when he was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, and later often boasted in Farsi of deceiving his “naive” European negotiating partners
* Rouhani made clear during a little-known address to the Iranian parliament in 2004 that he viewed Pakistan as a role model for his country’s effort to build a nuclear arsenal in the face of world opposition
This is a follow-up to Sunday’s dispatch: Will Rouhani really moderate Iran? (& Will sex bring down the regime?)
* You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia.
1. New Iranian president’s son killed himself “over father’s extremism”
2. Rouhani, a hardliner who has been involved in the Islamic revolution since its murderous beginning
3. Educated in Scotland
4. Rouhani easily outwitted the nuclear negotiators from Germany, France and Britain
5. A reader writes…
6. “How we duped the West, by Iran’s nuclear negotiator” (By Philip Sherwell, Sunday Telegraph, March 5, 2006)
7. “He’s no ‘moderate’” (By Lee Smith, Weekly Standard, June 17, 2013)
8. “Iran’s new fanatic-in-chief” (By Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2013)
NEW IRANIAN PRESIDENT’S SON KILLED HIMSELF “OVER FATHER’S EXTREMISM”
By Tom Gross
The leading London-based pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reports today that Iranian President-Elect Hassan Rouhani’s eldest son took his own life in 1992, in protest at his father’s involvement with Iran’s murderous Islamic regime and his father’s close ties to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“I hate your government, your lies, your corruption, your religion, your double acts and your hypocrisy,” wrote the future president’s son in his suicide note, according to the Saudi-owned paper. “I am ashamed to live in such an environment where I’m forced to lie to my friends each day, telling them that my father isn’t part of all of this. Telling them my father loves this nation, whereas I believe this to be not true. It makes me sick seeing you, my father, kiss the hand of Khamenei.”
The official Iranian press, which is controlled by Khamenei, has admitted that Rouhani’s eldest son committed suicide in 1992 but the regime’s media denied it was a political act.
Rouhani has said in the past that his son committed “a great sin” by killing himself, but he still made sure his son was buried in a prime plot in the temple of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.
ROUHANI, AN EXTREMIST WHO HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION SINCE ITS MURDEROUS BEGINNING
Many western media are continuing to report that Rouhani is a “moderate” (for example: “Iran Moderate Wins Presidency by a Large Margin” www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/world/middleeast/iran-election.html and “Moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani wins Iran’s presidential vote” www.washingtonpost.com/world/iranians-await-presidential-election-results-following-extension-of-polling-hours/2013/06/15/3800c276-d593-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html ) and “centrist” (the BBC’s term).
Here is what they are not telling you:
Rouhani has been involved in the Islamic revolution since its murderous beginning. In 1978 he moved to France to join Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic revolution, who was living in exile in Paris.
He then helped found the Islamic regime in Tehran and for the last three decades has been intimately involved in its security apparatus (which has killed and tortured hundreds of thousands of people).
Among the security positions Rouhani has held:
* He was chairman of the Majles Defense Committee from 1985-1989
* He was deputy commander-in-chief during the Iran-Iraq War from 1988-1989
* He was supreme commander of civil defense from 1985-1990, and commander of the Khatam-ol-Anbiya Headquarters
* His most notable position was Chairman of the Supreme National Security Council (1989-2005), the period in which the Supreme National Security Council helped mastermind the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people (including many elderly Holocaust survivors), and of the Khobar Towers in 1996, killing 19 U.S. airmen
He is still Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s personal representative on the council, and informed sources say that Khamenei engineered his victory in last weekend’s election as a ruse to fool the West, to help western powers lower their guard – as some western diplomats already appear to be doing.
EDUCATED IN SCOTLAND
Like many leading members of other extreme anti-Western organizations such as Hamas and al-Qaeda, Rouhani also has received an extensive Western education in addition to his religious training.
He has a B.A. in law from Tehran University as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in law from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.
ROUHANI EASILY OUTWITTED THE NUCLEAR NEGOTIATORS FROM GERMANY, FRANCE AND BRITAIN
Intelligence sources say that Rouhani easily outwitted and out-negotiated the European troika of nuclear negotiators from Germany, France and Britain, from 2003-5 when he was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Indeed Rouhani later boasted of doing so to colleagues in Farsi.
Rouhani has also admitted that he exploited diplomacy to advance his country’s nuclear program. He made clear during a little-known address to the Iranian parliament in 2004 that he viewed Pakistan as a role model for his country’s effort to master the nuclear fuel cycle in the face of world opposition.
A READER WRITES…
In response to my dispatch on Sunday concerning Rouhani’s election victory, a reader writes:
Just watching headlines in the major U.S. dailies, first I learned that only conservatives had been allowed to run in Iran’s presidential election. Then I learned that a moderate was ahead. Finally, I’ve learned that a reformist has won.
Things change so fast!
I attach three articles below. The first is from 2006 from my former colleague at The Sunday Telegraph, Phil Sherwell; and the second two are by Lee Smith and Michael Freund, both long-time subscribers to this email list.
-- Tom Gross
HOW WE DUPED THE WEST, BY IRAN’S NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR
How we duped the West, by Iran’s nuclear negotiator
By Philip Sherwell in Washington
The Sunday Telegraph (London)
March 5, 2006
The man who for two years led Iran’s nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic programme.
In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.
He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot.
“From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, ‘The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.’ The Europeans used to respond, ‘We trust them’,” he said.
Revelation of Mr Rowhani’s remarks comes at an awkward moment for the Iranian government, ahead of a meeting tomorrow of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog, which must make a fresh assessment of Iran’s banned nuclear operations.
The judgment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the final step before Iran’s case is passed to the UN Security Council, where sanctions may be considered.
In his address to the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, Mr Rowhani appears to have been seeking to rebut criticism from hardliners that he gave too much ground in talks with the European troika. The contents of the speech were published in a regime journal that circulates among the ruling elite.
He told his audience: “When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Teheran we were still installing some of the equipment at the Isfahan site. There was plenty of work to be done to complete the site and finish the work there. In reality, by creating a tame situation, we could finish Isfahan.”
America and its European allies believe that Iran is clandestinely developing an atomic bomb but Teheran insists it is merely seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran’s negotiating team engaged in a last-ditch attempt last week to head off Security Council involvement. In January the regime removed IAEA seals on sensitive nuclear equipment and last month it resumed banned uranium enrichment.
Iran is trying to win support from Russia, which opposes any UN sanctions, having unsuccessfully tried to persuade European leaders to give them more time. Against this backdrop, Mr Rowhani’s surprisingly candid comments on Iran’s record of obfuscation and delay are illuminating.
He described the regime’s quandary in September 2003 when the IAEA had demanded a “complete picture” of its nuclear activities. “The dilemma was if we offered a complete picture, the picture itself could lead us to the UN Security Council,” he said. “And not providing a complete picture would also be a violation of the resolution and we could have been referred to the Security Council for not implementing the resolution.”
Mr Rowhani disclosed that on at least two occasions the IAEA obtained information on secret nuclear-related experiments from academic papers published by scientists involved in the work.
The Iranians’ biggest setback came when Libya secretly negotiated with America and Britain to close down its nuclear operations. Mr Rowhani said that Iran had bought much of its nuclear-related equipment from “the same dealer” - a reference to the network of A Q Khan, the rogue Pakistani atomic scientist. From information supplied by Libya, it became clear that Iran had bought P2 advanced centrifuges.
In a separate development, the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has obtained a copy of a confidential parliamentary report making clear that Iranian MPs were also kept in the dark on the nuclear programme, which was funded secretly, outside the normal budgetary process.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, the NCRI’s foreign affairs chief, told the Sunday Telegraph: “Rowhani’s remarks show that the mullahs wanted to deceive the international community from the onset of negotiations with EU3 - and that the mullahs were fully aware that if they were transparent, the regime’s nuclear file would be referred to the UN immediately.”
IRAN PICKS A NEW LEADER TO READ FROM THE SAME SCRIPT
He’s no ‘moderate’: Iran picks a new leader to read from the same script
By Lee Smith
The Weekly Standard
June 17, 2013
It’s not clear why much of the Western media continues to describe Iran’s newly elected president as a “moderate.” After all, Hassan Rouhani is a regime pillar: As an early follower of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Rouhani joined him in exile in Paris, and over the last 34 years, the 64-year-old Qom-educated cleric has held key positions in the regime’s political echelons, and served in top military jobs during Iran’s decade-long war with Iraq. As Iran’s chief interlocutor with the West on the regime’s nuclear portfolio, Rouhani boasted of deceiving his negotiating partners. Domestically, he has threatened to crush protestors “mercilessly and monumentally,” and likely participated in the campaign of assassinations of the regime’s Iranian enemies at home and abroad, especially in Europe. Currently, Rouhani serves as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative on the supreme national security council.
Aside from the fact that Iran’s English-language television station Press TV calls him a moderate, what exactly, in the eyes of the West, makes him one? After all, former president Muhammad Khatami labeled his public diplomacy campaign a “dialogue of civilizations,” which played right into Western ideas of tolerance and moderation. But Rouhani has nothing similar in his past.
“I think he gets that label because he has been Rafsanjani’s factotum,” says former CIA officer Reuel Marc Gerecht. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, another regime pillar and former president of Iran, is typically referred to as a “pragmatist” in the Western press. “Compared to Khamenei’s circle, these fellows seem moderate,” says Gerecht. “Rouhani ran their little think tank around which foreign-policy types, the types that Westerners meet, gathered. Also, Rouhani was party to the only temporary ‘freeze’ in Iran’s nuke program. Some folks – most notably the EU’s Javier Solana – made a lot out of this. They should not have.”
In reality, all Rouhani did was play the U.S. and EU off each other. “From the outset,” Rouhani said in 2006, “the Americans kept telling the Europeans, ‘The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.’ The Europeans used to respond, ‘We trust them.’ … When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Tehran we were still installing some of the equipment at the Isfahan site. There was plenty of work to be done to complete the site and finish the work there. In reality, by creating a tame situation, we could finish Isfahan.”
Accordingly, a number of analysts wonder if Rouhani’s election is meant to serve the same purpose now in buying more time for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. With the regime putting a friendly, “moderate” face in front, the West is likely to double down on its efforts to reach the long sought after diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear issue.
As if on cue, the White House responded enthusiastically to Rouhani’s victory and announced that it is prepared, again, to enter direct negotiations. “There’s a great opportunity for Iran,” said White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, “and the people of that storied country, to have the kind of future that they would, I think, justifiably want.”
The presidential election didn’t offer much insight into what the Iranian people want. With a reported turnout of 72 percent of the country’s 50 million registered voters, informed sources in Iran charge that the regime exaggerated the actual turnout by a factor of 4 or 5. This election is almost certainly as fraudulent, if not more so, than the contested 2009 elections that brought the Green revolution to the streets. Up until last week, Tehran mayor Mohamed Baqer Qalibaf was leading in pre-election polling with 32.7 percent, Jalili was in second with 28.7 with Rouhani and the rest trailing. By Thursday, after the other reform candidate, Mohamed Reza Aref, dropped out, Rouhani had taken a commanding lead. In a poll conducted by the independent Virginia-based consultancy service IPOS, Rouhani was at 31.7 percent, with Qalibaf at 24.1 percent and Jalili at 13.7 percent. Another poll conducted by a website affiliated with the government showed that Rouhani was leading with 43 percent. Even then the final tally far exceeded the expectations of the regime polling, with Rouhani winning with slightly more than 50 percent. It would appear that the regime ran up the number in order to avoid any chances of a run-off that might return protestors to the streets again.
Nonetheless, there were some demonstrations Saturday in Tehran, with protestors demanding the government release all political prisoners and invoking the Green revolution’s martyr Neda Agha Soltan – “the lady of Iran,” they chanted, “your path is continuing… Don’t be afraid, we are all together.”
Elsewhere, the Islamic Republic is showing what’s in store for domestic opponents. In Iraq, the Iranian-affiliated militia Kataeb Hezbollah launched a rocket attack against Camp Liberty, where around 3000 members of the Mujahideen e-Khalq (MEK) have been living since they were moved from Camp Ashraf, with U.S. and UN assurances for their security. John Kerry issued a statement saying that “the United States strongly condemns today’s brutal, senseless, and utterly unacceptable rocket attack on Camp Hurriya that killed and injured camp residents.” Two were killed in the attack and dozens wounded.
Attacking Camp Liberty sends a message to everyone who is committed to overthrowing the regime, says Ali Safavi, the U.S. spokesman for the National Council of Resistance in Iran , an umbrella organization with the MEK as its largest member. “The MEK is leading the opposition calling for the overthrow of the regime,” says Safavi, who believes that there’s a connection between the elections and the attack on Liberty. “A month after the June 2009 elections, they attacked Camp Ashraf. In February 2011 there were huge demonstrations and in April Ashraf was again attacked, with 36 killed.” With Saturday’s attack, says Safavi, the regime is sending a message – “‘Don’t even think about overthrowing the regime.’ Their language is rockets and bullets.”
And the man the regime has chosen to read from that script, its newly elected front man, is no moderate.
IRAN’S NEW FANATIC-IN-CHIEF
Iran’s new fanatic-in-chief
By Michael Freund
The Jerusalem Post
June 18, 2013
Eleven years ago, a middle-aged, up-and-coming Iranian cleric sat down for a rare interview with ABC News. Though largely unknown to the West at the time, the bespectacled mullah served as chairman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and was a key adviser to the Iranian president.
Despite knowing that he was appearing before a Western audience, the turbaned official made little effort to hide his uncompromising and extremist views. When asked why then-US President George W. Bush had included Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” for example, the partisan Persian did not hesitate to invoke an anti-Semitic canard, blaming the Jews for America’s policy.
“After September 11,” he said, “the hardliners, especially the Zionist lobby, became more active and, unfortunately, influenced Mr. Bush.”
A few minutes later, perhaps concerned that he had not gotten his point across, he went out of his way to reiterate that, “What we really see in the decision-making is the influence of the Zionist lobby. They are very influential in the administration as well as with members of Congress.”
The man who uttered those hateful words is none other than Hassan Rouhani, the new president-elect of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yes, that Hassan Rouhani, the same one that much of the Western media is attempting to portray as a judicious and reasonable man.
“Moderate Wins Iran’s Presidential Election,” crowed National Public Radio. “Rouhani an Advocate of Peace,” insisted The Australian.
But don’t let the screaming headlines fool you. The assertion that Rouhani is a moderate is absolute hogwash, marinated in self-delusion and garnished with sheer ignorance. Sure, when compared with outgoing nutcase Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani is relatively restrained. But that’s like saying Attila the Hun was a moderate when measured up against Genghis Khan.
In other words, it is a distinction without a difference.
Rouhani has spent more than two decades as part of Iran’s national security apparatus, which has used violence and terror at home and abroad to preserve the rule of the ayatollahs. From 2003 to 2005, as Teheran’s chief nuclear negotiator, his task was to dither, delay and dissemble in talks with the West while Iran’s nuclear scientists advanced toward the atomic finish line. And for the past eight years, Rouhani was one of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s two personal representatives on Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
His record is one of slavish loyalty to the thuggish theocracy that was installed after the downfall of the Shah in 1979, and there is simply no reason whatsoever to think that this close confidante of Khamenei will suddenly become an Iranian F.W. De Klerk or Mikhail Gorbachev.
Indeed, if Rouhani’s public statements are any indication, Iran’s hostile stance appears certain to continue.
In the ABC interview that he gave in September 2002, Rouhani justified Palestinian suicide bombers, saying that, “Palestinians can use any means to kick out the occupier.” He defended Hezbollah as “a legitimate political group,” called Israel “a terrorist nation” and refused to condemn the March 2002 Passover Massacre, when a Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up at a Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya, murdering 30 Israelis and wounding 140 others.
More recently, in a meeting with the Turkish ambassador on January 11, 2012, Rouhani came to the defense of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, even as the latter was busy slaughtering his fellow citizens.
“Syria has constantly been on the frontline of fighting Zionism and this resistance line must not be weakened,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by the Iranian and Syrian press. “Syria,” he added, “has a particular position in the region and in the past 60 years has formed the resistance line against the Zionist regime.”
And if you thought that the race for the presidency might serve to soften his views, think again. In an interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat last week, Rouhani denounced what he called Israel’s “inhuman policies and practices in Palestine and the Middle East.”
To be sure, Rouhani has been making noises about reforming Iran’s economy and loosening the regime’s stifling grip on the Iranian people. But while his election to the presidency does constitute a change of faces, it hardly signals a change in policy.
The departure of Ahmadinejad from the scene is certainly welcome news, and few will miss his rancorous and vitriolic anti-Semitic and anti-Western tirades.
But the results of Iran’s presidential balloting are hardly a reason to celebrate. Iran may have a relatively more moderate fanatic-in-chief in the form of Hassan Rouhani, but a fanatic he most assuredly is.