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Iran: A Setback for Warmongers

President Elect Rouhini

By Ilisha

For years, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a key propaganda asset for warmongers pushing for the US to invade Iran. Ahmadinejad could be counted on to make incendiary remarks that sparked widespread outrage in the West, and when what he actually said wasn’t radical or ridiculous enough, it could always be embellished, distorted, and amplified. Consider his alleged threat to wipe Israel off the map, a lie that’s still making rounds, despite being thoroughly and repeatedly debunked:

…the militant jihadist regime in Iran is developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. It is also, not just coincidently [sic], supporting terrorists groups abroad, facilitating the killing of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, vowing to wipe Israel off the map, and promising, in the longer term, “a world without America.” ~ Can Sanctions “Cripple Iran

Last month, the warmongers lost Ahmedinijad when the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani as their new president. Viewed as a moderate, Rouhani  supports Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, but has also pledged to forge better relations with the West, including breaking the impasse over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Rouhani’s widely quoted line, “Our centrifuges must turn, but so must our country,” struck a chord with Iranian voters.

For those genuinely interested in avoiding war with Iran, the election of Rouhani was welcome news. For warmongers, the loss of Ahmedinijad in favor or a moderate was a depressing setback.  After decrying the perils of censorship, he praised social networks like Facebook as a “welcome phenomenon,”  and went on to describe his new vision or Iran:

“The future government must operate in the framework of moderation … [and it] must avoid extremism, and this message is for everyone,” Rohani, a former chief nuclear negotiator, said in a speech carried live on state television on Saturday.

Rohani also urged moderation in Iranian policies toward the rest of the world and called for a balance between “realism” and pursuing the ideals of the Islamic Republic. “Moderation in foreign policy is neither submission nor antagonism, neither passivity nor confrontation. Moderation is effective and constructive interaction with the world,” he said.

Rouhani is a politician and he may not live up to his words. But his apparent moderation should at least be greeted by cautious optimism. Or not:

It’s mystifying. It’s amusing. But mostly, it’s just dangerous. Liberals and those on the left who pride themselves on their defense of human rights have a curious blind spot when it comes to assessing new faces of bad regimes. Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is just the latest brutal, dangerous leader inexplicably given the benefit of the doubt by so many, though no real doubt of his nature exists.

Warmongers were disappointed, but quick to rebound with talking points designed to thwart any progress toward peace. A few favorite themes:

Rowhani’s predecessor as president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could and did enrage the world with his anti-Western and anti-Semitic rhetoric, but he had little control over policy. There is no reason to think that the more soft-spoken Rowhani will have any more flexibility, especially when it comes to Iran’s determined program to attain nuclear-weapons capacity. ~ Don’t be Fooled by ‘Moderate’ Iran


“In any case, the ruler of Iran is the supreme leader, not the president, and it is he who determines nuclear policy. The more the pressure on Iran increases, the greater is the chance of stopping the Iranian nuclear program, which remains the greatest threat to world peace.” ~ Benjamin Netanyahu

And again:

“Using Rouhani’s election as Iran’s next president as an excuse for the Obama administration to chase the rabbit of further fruitless negotiations is a fool’s errand.  Whatever negotiating position Rouhani would like to pursue, his hands are tied by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who calls all of the shots.” ~ Frontpage Mag

And again:

“Despite reformists’ support, Rowhani’s win is likely to be more of a limited victory than a deep shake-up. Iran’s establishment, a tight alliance of the ruling clerics and the ultra-powerful Revolutionary Guard, still holds all the effective power and sets the agenda on all major decisions such as Iran’s nuclear program and its dealings with the West.” ~ The Blaze

They all seem to be reading from the same script. When Ahmadinejad was president, it mattered enough to howl about him endlessly. Now that someone is saying things the warmongers don’t want to hear, the role is irrelevant. Which is it?

“Most important for the greatest global security challenge Iran presents today, he also served as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 through 2005, when an alarmed world began to pressure Iran to halt its aggressive program to attain a nuclear bomb. In 2004, while insisting that his country was only interested in peaceful uses of nuclear power, Rowhani agreed to suspend the enrichment of uranium, a concession he reversed a year later. The new president’s seemingly moderate move is sometimes cited today to suggest that he may be ripe for compromise on the nuclear issue. ~ Don’t be Fooled by ‘Moderate’ Iran

“Aggressive” program to attain a nuclear bomb? There is no evidence such a program exists at all.

Iran has not invaded another country in over 200 years. In contrast, during that same period, the United States has invaded too many nations to count and has yet to pause. The US is has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. The US is the only country in the world to have actually used nuclear weapons against another country. Yet somehow, the US is considered eligible for the Nuclear Club, and Iran is not.

Rarely does anyone in the Western media seem to question the de facto nuclear apartheid that underpins the argument for a “civilized countries” to wage a preemptive war, should Iran even attempt to acquire nuclear weapons. Given all the saber rattling and belligerence coming from the militarily aggressive West, it seems perfectly rational for Iran to want nuclear weapons simply for deterrence. Yet despite all the hype and hysteria, there isn’t a shred of evidence Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

In fact, Western intelligence agencies have repeatedly confirmed no such program exists. Clever propagandists often set the parameters of debate regarding Iran by implying is it an undisputed fact Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Should we go to war to stop Iran’s aggressive pursuit of a nuclear weapon, they ask, so that merely considering the question includes tacit “recognition” of a nuclear program that doesn’t exist.

Whether or not Rouhani has at various times agreed to suspend enrichment of uranium means little. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Furthermore, when Iran does agree to compromise, the US often doesn’t budge, and in fact, has threatened to ratchet up sanctions in response to Rouhini’s election. It is almost as if the US wants negotiations to fail.

“The Rowhani presidency, then, will ignore American objections to the regime’s encroachment on the civil rights and civil liberties of women, gays, and members of the Bahai faith and other minorities…” – ~ Don’t be Fooled by ‘Moderate’ Iran

No conversation about bombing a Muslim-majority country would be complete without a modern appeal to White Man’s Burden. We must cry crocodile tears and bomb the savages back to the Stone Age in order to usher in democracy, freedom, and human rights. How does that work exactly? Please don’t ask.

Relentlessly bombing Iraq and Afghanistan has ushered in immeasurable human suffering, not human rights. Bombs have not summoned the gods of Freedom and Democracy, but unleashed the demons of chaos, instability, and sectarian strife.  Atomizing Muslim-majority countries and reducing them to chaos leaves ripe fruit for domination and plunder, and the Disciples of Eternal War have a long list of countries left to smash. Iran is at the top of their list, along with Syria.

Fortunately for the warmongers, their propaganda campaign does not depend entirely on the Iranian president. When all else fails, the myth of the Mad Mullahs of Iran has always been easy to exploit and still is:

When the devout are committed to carrying out God’s will (e.g., destruction of the “Great Satan”), they are not easily dissuaded, even by severe economic sanctions. Rohani is a Khamenei-endorsed cleric, a messianist, and the president of an Islamist-supremacist regime. To the secular, his religious motivations may seem incidental — Rohani’s avuncular smile and fluent English may make him appear moderate, but his religious commitment to harm Israel and the West is no such thing.

The Axis of Evil versus the Great Satan? Name calling aside, Iranian leaders have not threatened a first strike against the US or Israel, and there is no credible evidence Iranian leaders are irrational:

For the past several years, U.S. intelligence analysts have doubted hawkish U.S. and Israeli rhetoric that Iran is dominated by “mad mullahs” — clerics whose fanatical religious views might lead to irrational decisions. In the new [National Intelligence Estimate] NIE, the analysts forcefully posit an alternative view of an Iran that is rational, susceptible to diplomatic pressure and, in that sense, can be “deterred.”

“Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs,” states the NIE. Asked if this meant the Iranian regime would be “deterrable” if it did obtain a weapon, a senior official responded, “That is the implication.” He added: “Diplomacy works. That’s the message.” The Myth of the  Mad Mullahs

Warmongers have proven themselves to be as patient and resourceful as they are deceptive. In the end, the West may bomb Iran back to the Stone Age. But for the moment, the turn of events in Iran is a welcome obstacle for warmongers on the road to Tehran.

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  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    then sing another song for us sometime

  • Yitzchak Goodman

    I am sure you are a nice enough fellow but do you have any other opinions about anything other than your fear of Iran ?

    Sure. Bird lives.

  • Change Iran Now

    There is nothing more reassuring than hope. We hope for a better year. We hope for a better life. We hope that Iran will stop trying to
    build nuclear weapons and the hope for many is that Hassan Rouhani will be the man to follow through on that idea. Much of that hope revolves around the perception of Rouhani based on his pleasant demeanor, initial chastisement of outgoing president Ahmadinejad and simply because he isn’t Supreme Leader Khamenei. But all of that obscures some key facts. Namely that Rouhani has enjoyed a long career in the service of the regime in its military, intelligence and security arms. He has been the face of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team and there has never been any sign of dissent over the past 30 years in his relationship with Khamenei and the policies of the Supreme Guardian Council and his fellow clerics. If you really want to get to know this man’s career, I would suggest you check out The true indicators of a different future will come if Rouhani takes concrete steps towards moderation such as liberalizing internet access to social media, re-opening shuttered opposition newspapers, releasing political prisoners and halting public executions. Failure to do any of those things will only reinforce that we’re in for another four years of Ahmadinejad…just with a nicer smile.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    I am sure you are a nice enough fellow but do you have any other opinions about anything other than your fear of Iran ?
    Sir David
    Self identified leftist

  • Ilisha

    We’ll know soon enough if Rouhani’s purported moderation is real or consequential.

    Right, but I don’t think it was helpful to respond by ratcheting up sanctions before he even got into office. I understand there is reason for skepticism, but this looks to me like an effort to set the stage for mutual distrust, demonization, and eventual “failure” (which is really a success) that leads to war.

    There really is no justification for this negative reception, if our government really wants to give peace a chance. If anything, they’d take any sign of moderation as a reason to ease the sanctions a little more–to encourage more of the same. All stick and not carrot.

    As far as your reservations about the Iranian regime, I don’t think they are irrational–a point addressed in the article. I also think US loons are more dangerous because they can and often do invade other countries, whereas Iran does not. I don’t see a reason to think Iran is a bigger threat to the US and Israel than the US and Israel are to Iran.

    Having said that, I will add I’m certainly not a fan of the regime in Iran, nor am I defending them or any of the offensive statements you mentioned. I just don’t want another ill-conceived, disastrous war.

  • Yitzchak Goodman

    I have no problem criticizing the Iranian regime, but I’m not at all comfortable with indicting Iranian “culture.”

    I wrote “official culture.” I mean the official face that Iran shows to the outside world, the culture of Supreme Leader pronouncements and so forth. I don’t disagree with anything you say about Persian culture in general. I live in a city that is sometimes joking called “Tehran-geles,” and the Persian influence is especially prevalent in the Jewish community.

    American leaders sometimes say bloodthirsty, crazy things too, and some ugly ideas have also gained currency here. I don’t think that justifies a preemptive military strike on America.

    In the case of Iran we are talking about belief in the Elders of Zion Conspiracy. A fair number of Americans believe in that also, but not major politicians, unless Farrakhan counts. Iran’s rulers can believe whatever they want, but their beliefs are evidence for what they might do with nuclear weapons. And I’m not even mentioning their relationship with Hezbollah and Hamas.

    I think the current policy toward Iran is a no-win situation for them. If the administration is more extreme, that’s an excuse for sanctions,
    and if the Iranians vote in someone more moderate, that’s an excuse for more sanctions too. Where is the incentive to cooperate?

    I don’t think genuine moderation would be an “excuse for more sanctions.” We’ll know soon enough if Rouhani’s purported moderation is real or consequential.

  • Ilisha

    I don’t self identify as a leftist.

    I have no problem criticizing the Iranian regime, but I’m not at all comfortable with indicting Iranian “culture.”

    To the extent I’ve talked with people from Iran, they have not been obsessed with Jews and Israel. In fact, I don’t remember anyone mentioning these subjects at all, so these topics certainly weren’t on their lips day and night–though admittedly it’s a pretty small sample.

    There are a lot of Iranians who seem besotted with the US, and a fair number who have positive views of Israel. When Israelis sent a message to Iran opposing a military conflict, Iranians responded favorably and launched their own reciprocal campaign. Recently on a Youtube video of a Jewish Israeli singer of Iranian origin, I saw all kinds of comments along the lines of, “We love you…we love Israel!”

    There is also “Marg bar Esraeel!” and similar statements, which seem to invariably get the media spotlight. So I really think the picture is mixed. By what measure do we gauge what is more prevalent in Iran? What is typical for the regime, or for the ordinary people? I just don’t know enough about Iranian society to have a feel for that.

    Also, I would prefer to criticize political positions rather than culture. I’m a fan of Iranian/Persian culture. Like many others I’ve met, I’m seduced by the sweet Farsi language and appreciate their refined cuisine. My dad (God rest his soul) loved to discuss the virtues of Persian literature, and to quote from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. So when you mention Iranian “culture,” it conjures up some very difference images for me.

    Nevertheless, even if some ugly ideas have gained currently in the establishment, or to some degree in the society, that doesn’t mean we need to bomb Iran. I still believe in just war doctrine.

    American leaders sometimes say bloodthirsty, crazy things too, and some ugly ideas have also gained currency here. I don’t think that justifies a preemptive military strike on America.

    I think the current policy toward Iran is a no win situation for them. If the administration is more extreme, that’s an excuse for sanctions, and if the Iranians vote in someone more moderate, that’s an excuse for more sanctions too. Where is the incentive to cooperate?

  • Yitzchak Goodman

    No, I can’t bring myself to “admit” something I don’t know. Who says “Iranian culture” promotes these ideas? Just because you’re obsessed
    with Iran doesn’t mean everyone else is too.

    I’m not obsessed with Iran. I’ve probably been watching loons for longer than you have and I keep noticing that leftists seem inclined to palliate Iran’s looniness. According to Juan Cole, Ahmadinejad believes that “all of modern history (possibly from the Portuguese conquest of Goa) and certainly the British conquests during WW I, the Nazi persecution of Jews, and last year’s American presidential race, has been the unfolding of a secret Jewish plot, wherein ‘Zionists’ control everything that happens.”

    There are two things that Cole does not seem to realize and that any Loonologist should realize.

    1. Ahmadinjead is a very mundane and ordinary political loon.

    2. Ahmadinejad is a very mundane and ordinary Iranian official.

    Belief in that grand conspiracy behind “all modern history” unites a vast legion of political loons. It starts with John Robison’s loony book Proofs of a Conspiracy at the end of the 18th century and there are a great many variations on the theme. The conspiracy is variously identified as the Freemasons, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Bilderburgers, the Council of Foreign Relations, the UN–the John BIrch Society used to call those nefarious puppet-masters “the insiders.” A big variable is whether these groups (or some subset) are regarded as mere appendages of the deepest darkest conspiracy: the Jews. (Sinister laughter).

    The major Iranian news agencies are just mouthpieces for the government. The content is often laughable, but Iran is not a minor player on the world’s stage these days. Here is a PressTV article about how “Henry Ford understood what was really going on.”

    Henry Ford, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, was another believer in the grand conspiracy.

    At face value, I tend to think it means “the truth” (whatever they are presenting as the truth) would destroy Israel’s credibility, not
    physically destroy the country. I don’t see a reason to assume “the truth” is really a euphemism for a military weapon.

    The “truth” here would be that grand conspiracy behind 9/11 and all modern history. It wouldn’t just destroy Israel’s credibility, but people would realize, according to this logic, that Israel is the root of all evil. The meaning perhaps is that the “truth” would motivate people to undertake that “annihilation.” A book about loons that every loonologist should read is “Warrant for Genocide” by Norman Cohn (about the Protocols of Zion). What happens if we entertain the prospect that Cohn’s title is apt?

  • Christian-Friend

    I’ll believe Hassan Rouhani to be moderate when he shows he cares more about the people than making Iran more “Islamic”

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