Iranian President Hasan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly in New York last Thursday
* Chemi Shalev, columnist for leading left-wing paper Ha’aretz: “I would personally feel much more comfortable if so many in the American media wouldn’t be rushing so enthusiastically to embrace Rohani with open arms and with smiles on their faces, to the point that 1938 ‘peace in our time’ Munich analogies that used to repel me don’t seem quite so preposterous anymore.”
* Shalev: “If the blatant Holocaust denial of Iran’s spiritual leader Ali Khamenei and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a clear-cut manifestation of their ‘hatred of Jews,’ then the more sterile version of Holocaust distortion offered by Rohani and his Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is but a refined version of the exact same odious sentiment.”
“And while it may not be a conclusive litmus test for evaluating their commitment to a nuclear arrangement with the West, it is certainly valid to note that they may be playing the same game with their nuclear weapons program as they are with their refusal to accept the Holocaust. That just as they are couching their anti-Semitism in more palatable terms, so they are repackaging Iran’s continued drive to produce nuclear weapons in words that spark less suspicion and elicit less scrutiny…”
* As the New York Sun points out, “a group of Jewish people” is a telling way to describe the six million murdered by the Nazis. Maybe Rouhani has to be so rhetorically evasive because Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has denounced “the myth of the massacre of Jews known as the holocaust” – a statement you can find on his official, English-language website.
* Bret Stephens: “Here’s a line I never thought I’d write: I wish Ehud Olmert were Israel’s prime minister. Olmert has many flaws, some of them well known. But he also had a demonstrated capacity to act [in defying the Bush administration and the rest of the world by taking military action to stop the Assad regime from getting a nuclear bomb]. It isn’t clear that Netanyahu does.”
“U.S. credibility on enforcing presidential red lines and carrying through on military threats is in tatters thanks to Obama’s Syria capitulation. America’s ‘diplomatic option’ is, for Obama, a journey not a destination: He will pursue it no matter how flimsy the pretext or the likelihood of success.”
* Iran has enriched nearly 3,000 kilos of uranium in the last year alone, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA also notes in its most recent report that “the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities . . . including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
* Stephens: “How does Netanyahu get out of this trap? Here’s another line I never thought I’d write: by downgrading relations with Washington. Netanyahu has been granting Obama a degree of leverage and a presumption of authority over the Jewish state to which he is not entitled and has done little to deserve. That needs to stop.
“Obama will not – repeat, will not – conduct a military strike against Iran. Israelis who think otherwise are fooling themselves. But Israel will soon have to decide whether to act alone. If so, Israelis must proceed without regard to Obama’s diplomatic timetable.”
* Charles Krauthammer: “The search, now 30 years old, for Iranian ‘moderates’ goes on. Amid the enthusiasm of the latest sighting, it’s worth remembering that the highlight of the Iran-contra arms-for-hostages debacle was the secret trip to Tehran taken by Robert McFarlane, President Reagan’s former national security adviser. He brought a key-shaped cake symbolizing the new relations he was opening with the ‘moderates.’ We know how that ended…”
“Three decades later, the mirage reappears in the form of Hassan Rouhani… Rouhani is Khamenei’s agent but, with a smile and style, he’s now hailed as the face of Iranian moderation… Yet in his lovey-dovey Washington Post op-ed, his U.N. speech and various interviews, Rouhani gives not an inch on uranium enrichment. Indeed, he has repeatedly denied that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons at all. Or ever has. Such a transparent falsehood – what country swimming in oil would sacrifice its economy just to produce nuclear electricity that advanced countries such as Germany are already abandoning? – is hardly the basis for a successful negotiation.”
“But successful negotiation is not what the mullahs are seeking… More than anything, they want to buy time. Rouhani is the man to do exactly that. As Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005, he boasted in a 2004 speech to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, ‘While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the [uranium conversion] facility in Isfahan.... In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.’”
“Such is their contempt for us that they don’t even hide their strategy: Spin the centrifuges while spinning the West… I’m for negotiations. But only if it’s to do something real, not to run out the clock as Iran goes nuclear… And, by the way, do you know who was one of the three Iranian ‘moderates’ the cake-bearing McFarlane dealt with at that fateful arms-for-hostage meeting in Tehran 27 years ago? Hassan Rouhani. We never learn.”
* You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia.
If you press "Like" on that page, you will also get other postings of mine, beyond these dispatches.
1. “Iran’s Holocaust-denial trickery may point to nuclear duplicity as well” (By Chemi Shalev, Ha’aretz, Sept. 30, 2013)
2. “The Jewish state cannot rely on the United States for its security” (By Bret Stephens, Wall St Journal, Oct. 1, 2013)
3. “The Iranian ‘moderate’” (By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2013)
4. “CNN’s Tehran translation” (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 28, 2013)
5. “The U.S. administration swallows the lie about Khamenei’s ‘fatwa’ against nuclear arms” (Memri)
6. “Compilation of new Fatwas by Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei – No fatwa about nuclear bomb” (Memri)
7. “Iranian terrorism under ‘moderate’ presidents” (By Matthew Levitt, The Washington Institute)
[Note by Tom Gross]
I attach a number of articles about the extremist and dangerous Iranian regime’s new strategy of trying to persuade the West that it is suddenly about to become a moderate one. (The authors of some of these -- Bret Stephens, Charles Krauthammer, the senior staff of Memri, and the editorial staff of The Wall Street Journal -- are subscribers to this list.)
The Iranians seem to have actually persuaded some in America and Europe that the regime is all-of-a-sudden going to abide by human rights and international law. An editorial in the Israeli paper Ma’ariv yesterday said: “Why can’t Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu switch fuses and set a honey trap of his own for Rouhani by publicly inviting him to Israel in an effort to turn a page in Iran-Israel relations?”
I would add, why not invite him to Yad Vashem too?
“ROHANI AND ZARIF ARE SPOUTING THE SAME VILE ANTI-SEMITIC BILE AS THEIR UNCOUTH PREDECESSORS”
Iran’s Holocaust-denial trickery may point to nuclear duplicity as well
Despite the media’s uncritical embrace, Iranian leaders Rohani and Zarif are spouting the same vile anti-Semitic bile as their uncouth predecessors.
By Chemi Shalev
September 30, 2013
My grandmother was gassed at Auschwitz. My grandfather died of typhus in Theresienstadt. My aunts and uncles, on both my mother and father’s side, were exterminated in Sobibor, Majdanek, and Belzec, along with nine of their children, my first cousins, all under the age of seven.
I am, admittedly, one of those Jews that my Haaretz colleague Anshel Pfeffer describes as being “obsessed” with Iranian President Hassan Rohani efforts to obfuscate, bypass and sugarcoat his regime’s Holocaust denial and/or distortion. Rohani’s whitewash campaign, I confess, insults me personally.
But Iran’s ongoing Holocaust denial, absolute or partial, is much more than a personal or even collective affront. It is a telltale sign, first and foremost, of the Iranian regime’s abiding anti-Semitism, as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum makes clear: “Holocaust denial and distortion are generally motivated by hatred of Jews, and build on the claim that the Holocaust was invented or exaggerated by Jews as part of a plot to advance Jewish interests.”
Consequently, if the blatant Holocaust denial of Iran’s spiritual leader Ali Khamenei and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a clear-cut manifestation of their “hatred of Jews,” than the more sterile version of Holocaust distortion offered by Rohani and his Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is but a refined version of the exact same odious sentiment.
And while it may not be a conclusive litmus test for evaluating their commitment to a nuclear arrangement with the West, it is certainly valid to note that they may be playing the same game with their nuclear weapons program as they are with their refusal to accept the Holocaust. That just as they are couching their anti-Semitism in more palatable terms, so they are repackaging Iran’s continued drive to produce nuclear weapons in words that spark less suspicion and elicit less scrutiny.
This is no less a credible claim, to say the least, than the opposite contention that sees the Iranian leadership carrying out a miraculous and instantaneous 180 degree reversal, both in its anti-Semitic ideology and its overall nuclear policy
And by the same token, the willingness of many in the media to isolate one or two catchphrase headlines from complex statements made in New York in recent days by both Rohani and Zarif - or even just one word, as in the spat over whether the Iranian president did or did not utter the explicit word Holocaust on CNN - in order to absolve them, more or less, of Holocaust denial, is grounds enough to suspect that Rohani may be getting a similar free pass when he protests his nuclear innocence.
After all, the headlines in many American and Israeli news outlets eagerly cited Rohani’s condemnation of the Nazis’ “reprehensible crimes against humanity” and his Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s admittedly courageous disavowal of the “faulty translation” of his Supreme Leader’s website, in which the Holocaust is labeled “a myth.” But far less attention was devoted to the intricate maze of caveats, qualifications, riders, disclaimers and fine print that the Iranian leaders attached to their denunciation of the crimes against the Jews, which, when finally navigated, continue to constitute Holocaust denial and distortion.
“I explained that we condemn the crimes by Nazis in the World War II, and regrettably those crimes were committed against many groups, many people. Many people were killed, including a group of Jewish people,” Rohani told the Asia Society and the Council of Foreign Relations on Thursday. Yes, the Nazis killed Jews, but it was nothing special: they killed a lot of people.
And Zarif, speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, said that while the word “myth” was mistranslated on Khamenei’s English language website - and has miraculously survived seven years of Western protestations - the gist of the Supreme Leader’s message remains valid: “What is it that people are so upset that somebody is simply asking that we should do some studies of that?”
In other words, what other explanation can there be for the unjust denial of this burning Iranian quest for scientific freedom? Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt defines this disingenuous query as Holocaust deniers “assault on reason.” Otherwise, of course, we’re talking about a good old Jewish conspiracy, another manifestation of their stranglehold on Western society.
And then there is the issue of equivalency, another classic gambit of Holocaust deniers. “The point is,” Zarif told George Stephanopoulos, “we condemn the killing of innocent people, whether it happened in Nazi Germany or whether it’s happening in Palestine.” Which is like dispatching three of four birds with one stone: The Israelis are Nazis, the Palestinians are innocents, the Holocaust wasn’t any worse than Israel’s occupation of the territories and, concurrently, Israel’s occupation of the territories is just as horrid as the Holocaust.
And if the Holocaust wasn’t as bad as the Jews made it out to be, but was used as justification to usurp the Palestinians, what justification is there for the continued existence of Israel? And if there is no such justification, what possible objection can the West make to Iran’s wish to see Israel “uprooted from the region, like a cancerous tumor” as Khamenei said on Iranian TV in 2000, in what one assumes was yet another manifestation of that recurring Persian translation bug? Especially when that tumor is, as both Rohani and Zarif repeatedly explained, “the source of all the security and instability in the region?”
So when all the camouflaged Holocaust distortion is taken together with Rohani’s accusations that Israel is the “chief agitator” against Iran and his thinly-veiled insinuations against “war-mongering pressure groups” that are pushing the United States to a confrontation with Tehran, which Zarif described as Israel’s audacity “to lie and mislead the world” - does this not still amount, despite the sugar and spice and everything nice, to a view that “perpetuates long-standing anti-Semitic stereotypes by accusing Jews of conspiracy and world domination, hateful charges that were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Holocaust” as the Holocaust Museum says?
Or to put it another way: even if the Holocaust didn’t really happen, there’s no reason to give up hope for the future.
All of which doesn’t mean, of course, that Iran’s promise to prove its benign intentions should not be patiently explored and, if possible, objectively ascertained.
But it does mean, at least in the eyes of the “obsessed,” that Tehran is guilty until proven innocent. That Israel has been given no reason whatsoever to “get over” the Holocaust in its wariness of Iran, as David Landau brilliantly argued here last week.
And that I would personally feel much more comfortable if so many in the American media wouldn’t be rushing so enthusiastically to embrace Rohani with open arms and with smiles on their faces, to the point that 1938 “peace in our time” Munich analogies that used to repel me don’t seem quite so preposterous anymore.
BETTER FOR ISRAEL TO HAVE DETERRENCE THAN POPULARITY
Israel’s Failing Strategy
The Jewish state cannot rely on the United States for its security.
By Bret Stephens
Wall Street Journal
October 1, 2013
So Israel’s prime minister is now left to play the part of querulous Uncle Ben, who arrives the day after the funeral convinced his scheming siblings have already absconded with mother’s finest jewelry.
Uncle Ben’s suspicions may well be right. But he largely has himself to blame for not acting in time.
Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House on Monday and on Tuesday addresses the United Nations. It’s a predictable routine. First he obtains the stylized assurances from President Obama – still exulting from his 15 minute phone call Friday with Iran’s Hasan Rouhani – that Iran will not be allowed to get a bomb and that “all options are on the table.” Then Mr. Netanyahu denounces Iran at the U.N. and issues unspecified, and increasingly non credible, warnings that Israel may act on its own.
All hat and no cattle, as they say.
Here’s a line I never thought I’d write: I wish Ehud Olmert were Israel’s prime minister. Mr. Olmert has many flaws, some of them well known. But he also had a demonstrated capacity to act. It isn’t clear that Mr. Netanyahu does.
In May 2007 Israel disclosed to the U.S. that Syria was constructing a nuclear reactor in its eastern desert with help from North Korea. Mr. Olmert, then Israel’s prime minister, asked President Bush to bomb the facility. Mr. Bush weighed the options, said no, and proposed instead taking the matter public at the U.N.
“I told [Mr. Olmert] I had decided on a diplomatic option backed by the threat of force,” the former president recounts in his memoir, “Decision Points.”
“The prime minister was disappointed. ‘This is something that hits at the very serious nerves of this country,’ he said. He told me the threat of a nuclear weapons program in Syria was an ‘existential’ issue for Israel, and he worried diplomacy would bog down and fail. ‘I must be honest and sincere with you. Your strategy is very disturbing to me.’ That was the end of the call.”
Could Mr. Netanyahu say the same to Mr. Obama? Maybe. The Israeli prime minister infuriated the White House a couple of years ago by treating the president to a public lecture in the Oval Office.
Yet Israeli policy since then has amounted to one big kowtow to Mr. Obama’s needs, political and diplomatic. Israel apparently refrained from attacking Iran a year ago, largely out of deference to Mr. Obama’s electoral needs. Since then it has given the administration the widest possible latitude to pursue diplomatic initiatives until they prove their futility.
A year on, here is where things stand.
(1) U.S. credibility on enforcing presidential red lines and carrying through on military threats is in tatters thanks to Mr. Obama’s Syria capitulation.
(2) America’s “diplomatic option” is, for Mr. Obama, a journey not a destination: He will pursue it no matter how flimsy the pretext or the likelihood of success.
(3) Iran has enriched nearly 3,000 kilos of uranium in the last year alone, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA also notes in its most recent report that “the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities . . . including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
Oh, and (4): Despite this, Israel finds itself on the diplomatic back foot because Iran’s new president, unlike his predecessor, has alighted on a less-uncouth way to deny the Holocaust. Israel is now in the disastrous position of having to hope that Iranian hard-liners sabotage Mr. Rouhani’s efforts to negotiate a deal that, if honored, would leave Iran first-and-five at the nuclear goal line.
How does Mr. Netanyahu get out of this trap? Here’s another line I never thought I’d write: by downgrading relations with Washington.
That isn’t to say that Israel doesn’t benefit from good relations with the U.S. But the U.S., like Britain after World War II, is in retreat from the world, and Israelis need to adapt to a global reality in which the Americans are willing to do less, and consequently count for less. What Mr. Netanyahu has been doing instead is granting Mr. Obama a degree of leverage and a presumption of authority over the Jewish state to which he is not entitled and has done little to deserve. That needs to stop.
What also needs to stop is the guessing game over Israel’s intentions toward Iran. Mr. Obama will not – repeat, will not – conduct a military strike against Iran. Israelis who think otherwise are fooling themselves.
But Israel will soon have to decide whether to act alone. If so, Israelis must proceed without regard to Mr. Obama’s diplomatic timetable. If not, they’ll need to reconsider the concept and structure of Israeli deterrence, including nuclear ambiguity.
One last thing worth noting: Reflecting on Mr. Olmert’s decision to act against his wishes, Mr. Bush wrote this: “Prime Minister Olmert’s execution of the strike made up for the confidence I had lost in the Israelis during the Lebanon war. . . . The bombing demonstrated Israel’s willingness to act alone. Prime Minister Olmert hadn’t asked for a green light, and I hadn’t given one. He had done what he believed was necessary to protect Israel.”
That is the voice of respect. Better for Israel to have that than any other mark of international approval or popularity.
“I’M FOR NEGOTIATIONS. BUT ONLY IF IT’S TO DO SOMETHING REAL, NOT TO RUN OUT THE CLOCK AS IRAN GOES NUCLEAR”
The Iranian ‘moderate’
By Charles Krauthammer
September 27, 2013
The search, now 30 years old, for Iranian “moderates” goes on. Amid the enthusiasm of the latest sighting, it’s worth remembering that the highlight of the Iran-contra arms-for-hostages debacle was the secret trip to Tehran taken by Robert McFarlane, President Reagan’s former national security adviser. He brought a key-shaped cake symbolizing the new relations he was opening with the “moderates.”
We know how that ended.
Three decades later, the mirage reappears in the form of Hassan Rouhani. Strange résumé for a moderate: 35 years of unswervingly loyal service to the Islamic Republic as a close aide to Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei. Moreover, Rouhani was one of only six presidential candidates, another 678 having been disqualified by the regime as ideologically unsound. That puts him in the 99th centile for fealty.
Rouhani is Khamenei’s agent but, with a smile and style, he’s now hailed as the face of Iranian moderation. Why? Because Rouhani wants better relations with the West.
Well, what leader would not want relief from Western sanctions that have sunk Iran’s economy, devalued its currency and caused widespread hardship? The test of moderation is not what you want but what you’re willing to give. After all, sanctions were not slapped on Iran for amusement. It was to enforce multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding a halt to uranium enrichment.
Yet in his lovey-dovey Post op-ed, his U.N. speech and various interviews, Rouhani gives not an inch on uranium enrichment. Indeed, he has repeatedly denied that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons at all. Or ever has. Such a transparent falsehood – what country swimming in oil would sacrifice its economy just to produce nuclear electricity that advanced countries such as Germany are already abandoning? – is hardly the basis for a successful negotiation.
But successful negotiation is not what the mullahs are seeking. They want sanctions relief. And more than anything, they want to buy time.
It takes about 250 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in August that Iran already has 186 kilograms. That leaves the Iranians on the threshold of going nuclear. They are adding 3,000 new high-speed centrifuges. They need just a bit more talking, stalling, smiling and stringing along of a gullible West.
Rouhani is the man to do exactly that. As Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005, he boasted in a 2004 speech to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the [uranium conversion] facility in Isfahan. . . . In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.”
Such is their contempt for us that they don’t even hide their strategy: Spin the centrifuges while spinning the West.
And when the president of the world’s sole superpower asks for a photo-op handshake with the president of a regime that, in President Obama’s own words, kills and kidnaps and terrorizes Americans, the killer-kidnapper does not even deign to accept the homage. Rouhani rebuffed him.
Who can blame Rouhani? Offer a few pleasant words in an op-ed hailing a new era of non-zero-sum foreign relations, and watch the media and the administration immediately swoon with visions of detente.
Detente is difficult with a regime whose favorite refrain, fed to frenzied mass rallies, is “Death to America.” Detente is difficult with a regime officially committed, as a matter of both national policy and religious duty, to the eradication of a U.N. member state, namely Israel. It doesn’t get more zero-sum than that.
But at least we have to talk, say the enthusiasts. As if we haven’t been talking. For a decade. Strung along in negotiations of every manner – the EU3, the P5+1, then the final, very final, last-chance 2012 negotiations held in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow at which the Iranians refused to even consider the nuclear issue, declaring the dossier closed. Plus two more useless rounds this year.
I’m for negotiations. But only if it’s to do something real, not to run out the clock as Iran goes nuclear. The administration says it wants actions, not words. Fine. Demand one simple proof of good faith: Honor the U.N. resolutions. Suspend uranium enrichment and we will talk.
At least that stops the clock. Anything else amounts to being played.
And about the Khamenei agent who charms but declares enrichment an inalienable right, who smiles but refuses to shake the president’s hand. When asked by NBC News whether the Holocaust was a myth, Rouhani replied: “I’m not a historian. I’m a politician.”
Iranian moderation in action.
And, by the way, do you know who was one of the three Iranian “moderates” the cake-bearing McFarlane dealt with at that fateful arms-for-hostage meeting in Tehran 27 years ago? Hassan Rouhani.
We never learn.
“ER, NOT EXACTLY, CHRISTIANE”
CNN’s Tehran Translation
Wall Street Journal (editorial)
September 28, 2013
Our friends at the Cable News Network are objecting to our Thursday editorial (“Holocaust Denial in Translation”) that noted subtle but significant discrepancies between what Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking in Persian, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, and what CNN’s viewers heard in the English translation of his remarks. In a Twitter post, Ms. Amanpour insists that “CNN reported exactly what Rouhani said.”
Er, not exactly, Christiane.
Ms. Amanpour’s interview is gaining notice because it seemed to have Mr. Rouhani denouncing the Holocaust. CNN’s English transcript of the interview quotes the Iranian leader as “speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust” (our emphasis), while adding that “whatever criminality they [the Nazis] committed against the Jews, we condemn.”
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani takes questions from journalists during a news conference in New York on Friday.
But as we pointed out in the editorial, Mr. Rouhani never uses the word “Holocaust.” He merely speaks of “aspects of historical events.” Our independent translation of Mr. Rouhani’s remarks confirms this, as does Arash Karami of the Iran Pulse website, as does the transcript provided by Mr. Rouhani’s office, as does the semi-official Fars news agency, which is demanding its own correction from CNN.
The point may seem small to Western ears, but it’s significant in the context of a regime for which Holocaust denial is an article of ideological faith. Ditto for the second comment: Mr. Rouhani did not speak narrowly of Nazi crimes against Jews, but more broadly of crimes “against the Jews and the non-Jews.” This distinction is also important, because central to the claims of Holocaust revisionists is the lie that Jews were not the deliberate and principal target of Nazi genocide.
Lest there be any doubt about Mr. Rouhani’s careful word play, he also weighed in on the subject during an appearance this week at the Council on Foreign Relations. “We condemn the crimes by Nazis in the World War II,” he said, again without speaking of a Holocaust. “And regrettably those crimes were committed against many groups, many people, many people were killed including a group of Jewish people.”
As the New York Sun points out, “a group of Jewish people” is a telling way to describe the six million murdered by the Nazis. Maybe Mr. Rouhani has to be so rhetorically evasive because Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has denounced “the myth of the massacre of Jews known as the holocaust” – a statement you can find on his official, English-language website.
Meantime, we note with amusement that Ms. Amanpour objects to our agreeing with the accuracy of the Fars translation, as opposed to CNN’s: “Stunned by willingness of [Wall Street Journal editorial] page and others to jump into bed with Iranian extremist mouthpiece like FARS.” Which is funny, because the interpreter on whom CNN relied for its mistranslation was part of Mr. Rouhani’s Iranian government entourage.
So we will not be offering an apology to CNN, though we will be happy to accept theirs.
THE U.S. ADMINISTRATION SWALLOWS THE LIE ABOUT KHAMENEI’S ‘FATWA’ AGAINST NUCLEAR ARMS
The U.S. Administration Swallows The Lie About Khamenei’s ‘Fatwa’ Against Nuclear Arms
September 29, 2013
In his address to the U.N. General Assembly (September 24, 2013), U.S. President Barack Obama stated: “The Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.” In fact, such a fatwa was never issued by Supreme Leader Khamenei and does not exist; neither the Iranian regime nor anybody else can present it.
The deception regarding “Khamenei’s fatwa” has been promoted by the Iranian regime and its spokesmen for several years. Each time it was mentioned, the “fatwa” was given a different year of issue – for example, 2005, 2007, or 2012 – but the text of the “fatwa” was never presented.
MEMRI has conducted in-depth research with regard to this “fatwa” and has published reports demonstrating that it is a fiction. See MEMRI reports:
Renewed Iran-West Nuclear Talks – Part II: Tehran Attempts to Deceive U.S. President Obama, Sec’y of State Clinton With Nonexistent Anti-Nuclear Weapons Fatwa By Supreme Leader Khamenei
Release Of Compilation Of Newest Fatwas By Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei – Without Alleged Fatwa About Nuclear Bomb
The Iranian regime apparently believe that their frequent repetition of the “fatwa” lie will make it accepted as truth. To date, the Europeans refuse to accept it. According to unofficial sources, the legal advisors of the EU3 made an official request to the Iranian regime in 2005 to provide a copy of the “fatwa,” but in vain.
DID IRAN’S LEADER KHAMENEI REALLY ISSUE A FATWA AGAINST NUCLEAR WEAPONS? SEEMS NOT
Release Of Compilation Of Newest Fatwas By Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei – Without Alleged Fatwa About Nuclear Bomb
August 13, 2013
On July 30, 2013, the Iranian Tasnimnews website, which is close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published a compilation of 493 of the “newest” fatwas issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. These fatwas cover a wide range of issues, from political and cultural to religious, and include such topics as the treatment of Baha’is, trade with Israeli companies, religious purity and uncleanness, the status of women, and more.
MEMRI’s examination of the compilation shows that it also includes several previously released fatwas, dating back to 2004.
It is notable that a much-discussed fatwa, which regime officials claim was issued by Khamenei and prohibits the development, possession, or use of a nuclear bomb, is not included in this compilation. The conspicuous absence of such a fatwa by Khamenei from such a compilation confirms MEMRI’s argument that it does not exist; see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 825, Renewed Iran-West Nuclear Talks – Part II: Tehran Attempts to Deceive U.S. President Obama, Sec’y of State Clinton With Nonexistent Anti-Nuclear Weapons Fatwa By Supreme Leader Khamenei, April 19, 2013.
The following are some examples of the fatwas in the compilation on Tasnimnews:
“23: [What is the religious law concerning] a medication that contains alcohol?
“If someone knows that the medication contains alcohol of a type that is for [human] consumption, and it is originally liquid and intoxicating, then this medication is unclean; if he does not know [that it contains alcohol] it is pure...”
“32: [What is the religious law concerning what to do when] a sacred object falls into the toilet?
“If for example Koran chapters or an amulet containing a Koran falls into the toilet, using that toilet is forbidden [but] only to those who know for sure according to religious law [that it fell in], and he must wait until it is certain that the amulet has been effaced or destroyed [down the toilet] However, this obligation does not apply to anyone who does not know [that it fell in] and the person who dropped the amulet does not need to tell others about it, and if it this is difficult, there is no need to empty the toilet...”
“44: How should the purity prior to prayer be maintained?
“Anyone who breaks wind regularly – if he cannot preserve his purity from before prayers to after prayers, and if it is very difficult for him to re-purify himself during prayer – it is sufficient for him to purify himself once for each prayer...”
“112: [What is the religious law concerning] laughing during prayers?
“Laughing out loud [during prayer] – if it is intentional, it cancels out the prayer...”
“245: [Is it permitted] to defraud a non-Muslim in commerce?
“Telling a lie or committing fraud or forgery in commercial relations are forbidden, even if the other party is not a Muslim...”
“260: [On] associating with Baha’is:
“One should refrain from any kind of association with this misguided and misleading cult.”
Some Fatwas Were Released Previously
MEMRI’s examination of the compilation of fatwas shows that some of them were released previously, for example:
“7: What must be done in the event that scholars’ opinions contradict each other? (This fatwa was published previously on June 6, 2009, on Khamenei’s website.)
“If several qualified scholars do not agree regarding a certain fatwa, caution dictates that the most learned [of them] be imitated.”
“472: [Is it permitted] for a woman to dance before her husband? (This fatwa was published previously, but with no date, on Khamenei’s website; however, an Iranian website quoted from it on January 16, 2011.)
“A woman may dance before her husband provided it is not accompanied by prohibited activity [that is, forbidden music or singing].”
“473: [Is it permitted] to establish centers for learning dances? (This fatwa was published previously, but with no date, on Khamenei’s website; it was quoted by the Parto-e Sokhan weekly, which is identified with Ayatollah Mohammad Mesbah Taqi Yazdi on October 14, 2004.)
“Establishing centers for the learning and the spreading of dances contradicts the aims of the Islamic regime, and is forbidden.”
 Tasnimnews.com, July 30, 2013.
 http://farsi.khamenei.ir, June 6, 2009.
 http://www.leader.ir; http://zanan.mihanblog.com, January 16, 2011.
 http://www.leader.ir; Partosokhan.ir, October 14, 2004.
IRANIAN TERRORISM UNDER ‘MODERATE’ PRESIDENTS
Iranian Terrorism Under ‘Moderate’ Presidents
By Matthew Levitt
The Washington Institute
June 25, 2013
The Islamic Republic’s history suggests that the new president-elect will have neither the inclination nor the authority to curb the regime’s sponsorship of terrorism.
Hassan Rouhani’s victory in Iran’s presidential election has been widely heralded as a protest vote against the hardliners and a window of opportunity for diplomatic breakthrough with Western powers. But such assumptions beg the question: just how much moderation should be expected from a “moderate” Iranian president, particularly with regard to state sponsorship of terrorism? Past precedent suggests that expectations should be tempered.
RAFSANJANI’S TERRORISM REPORT CARD
Rouhani is not the first Iranian “moderate” to win the presidency. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, elected in 1989, was frequently described as a moderate as well. According to U.S. intelligence, however, he oversaw a long string of terrorist plots during his eight years in office.
The CIA linked Rafsanjani to terrorist plots as early as 1985, when he was serving as speaker of parliament. In a February 15, 1985, memo, the agency assessed that “Iranian-sponsored terrorism is the greatest threat to US personnel and facilities in the Middle East...Iranian-backed attacks increased by 30 percent in 1984, and the numbers killed in Iranian-sponsored attacks outpace fatalities in strikes by all other terrorist sponsors. Senior Iranian leaders such as Ayatollah Montazeri,...Prime Minister [Mir Hossein Mousavi], and Consultative Assembly speaker Rafsanjani are implicated in Iranian terrorism.”
In August 1990, the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence authored a more in-depth assessment titled “Iranian Support for Terrorism: Rafsanjani’s Report Card.” According to the agency, the regime’s sponsorship of terrorist activities had continued unabated since the death of Ayatollah Khomeini the previous June: “Although Rafsanjani has sought to improve relations with some Western nations since directly assuming the presidency last August, events of the past year prove that Tehran continues to view the selective use of terrorism as a legitimate tool.” Iranian terrorist attacks targeting “enemies of the regime” over the previous year “were probably approved in advance by President Rafsanjani and other senior leaders,” the report assessed, but “the planning and implementation of these operations are...probably managed by other senior officials, most of whom are Rafsanjani’s appointees or allies.” The CIA concluded that “Rafsanjani and [Supreme Leader] Khamenei would closely monitor and approve planning for an attack against the US or Western interests.”
Looking forward, CIA analysts assessed in 1990 that “Rafsanjani and other Iranian leaders will continue selectively using terrorism as a foreign policy tool to intimidate regime opponents, punish enemies of Islam, and influence Western political decisions.” Two years later, such assessments appeared prescient. In 1992, the CIA recorded a long list of Iranian terrorist activities, from attacks targeting Israeli, Saudi, and American officials in Turkey, to plots targeting Jewish emigres from the former Soviet Union and antiregime dissidents abroad. Most spectacular, however, were the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires (conducted with help from the regime’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah) and the public assassination of four Iranian dissidents at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin that same year.
Germany’s highest criminal court would later reject claims that the Mykonos attack was executed by “mavericks,” concluding in a 1997 ruling that “the assassination [was] put into action much more through the powers in Iran.” By identifying Rafsanjani and the Supreme Leader himself as the orchestrators of the plot, the court found that “Iranian powers not only allow terrorist attacks abroad...they themselves set in action such attacks.” Whenever the regime encountered political opposition, the court determined, its solution was simply to have the opponents “liquidated.”
Iran and Hezbollah soon struck again in Argentina. According to local investigators, a subgroup of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (the Committee for Special Operations) made the final decision to approve the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. That meeting reportedly included Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian, and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati. Also present were Iranian intelligence agents Mohsen Rabbani and Ahmad Asghari, who had firsthand knowledge of Argentina and advised the committee about target selection, the local logistical and intelligence support networks that could be used to facilitate the attack, and the country’s political and security environment at the time.
KHOBAR TOWERS: A CASE IN POINT
Seventeen years ago this week, Iranian agents teamed up with Lebanese and Saudi Hezbollah operatives to bomb the Khobar Towers military housing complex in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. The bombing, the largest nonnuclear explosion then on record (it was felt twenty miles away in Bahrain), killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel and wounded 372 more, along with numerous Saudi civilians and other nationals.
The Khobar plot took place while Rafsanjani was president and Rouhani was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. Following a massive FBI investigation, a U.S. federal court eventually indicted thirteen members of the Iranian-sponsored Saudi Hezbollah and an unidentified Lebanese Hezbollah operative referred to as John Doe.
Intelligence, forensics, and statements by detained suspects all pointed to Iran. According to FBI director Louis Freeh, “The bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in the Beka Valley, and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.” Freeh would later testify that “the attack was planned, funded and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Republic of Iran, that the IRGC principally had the responsibility of putting that plan into operation,” and that it was implemented “with the use of the Saudi Hezbollah organization and its members.”
TERROR SPONSORSHIP CONTINUES UNDER KHATAMI
In May 1997, Muhammad Khatami was elected as Iran’s fifth president after running on a distinctly reformist platform. Supporters of Iranian radicalism, including Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, had strongly supported Khatami’s more overtly revolutionary opponent, Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri.
In a December 1997 memo, the CIA asserted that Hezbollah leaders were shocked by Khatami’s victory and “scrambled to ensure that his election would not diminish Iran’s support” for the group. Their concerns would prove unfounded, however -- when Nasrallah visited Tehran in October 1997, Khatami and other officials pledged their continued support, emphasizing that the regime had not changed its position regarding the group or its operations against Israel. According to the CIA memo, Khatami “probably joins other Iranian leaders who maintain that support to Hezbollah is an essential aspect of Tehran’s effort to promote itself as leader of the Muslim world and champion of the oppressed.”
More important, the CIA assessed that Khatami would have been unable to withdraw Iran’s sponsorship of Hezbollah even if he had wanted to. As the memo put it, Khatami “probably does not have the authority to make such a change without the approval of Khamenei, who has long been one of the group’s foremost supporters.”
The fact that the least radical candidate won Iran’s latest presidential election has many observers excited about the prospect of more moderate policymaking in Tehran. Yet regardless of how Rouhani’s election might affect the nuclear impasse, the Islamic Republic’s history indicates that “moderate” or “reformist” presidents do not translate into moderation of Iran’s terrorism sponsorship. Even if Rouhani were inclined to curb such policies, there is no evidence that he has the authority to do so without the Supreme Leader’s approval, which seems highly unlikely at present.